Dish it out or Take it?
Friday, October 29, 2010
Dish it out or Take it?
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Words. Words I can do, but numbers, well, they scare me. That’s why the following stuck in my memory.
During my junior year of high school, I’d spent almost every Thursday staying after school trying to master my favorite of the math courses—Plane Geometry. I’d received some Dogs and a few Frogs on my homework and some quizzes. I wanted my GPA to remain strong, but math remained my nemesis. I stared dreamily out the window as Mrs. Lippencott graphed and spoke the foreign language of numbers to me. Fellow classmates tossed Frisbees, lounged on the grass and chased each other to their cars to flee the school zone.
Not me. I was stuck learning about the thing I loathed most.
Our final exam counted for something like 98% of our final grade (you know how that logic goes). My face caught on fire as I hammered out theorems and made pretty shapes on the page. In my gut, I hoped all those hours of staying after paid off.
But then the bell rang. I left school behind and thoughts of the beach flooded my mind.
It wasn’t until later that day, after I’d finished my third bowl of ice cream, that I got the call.
In something like two hours I’d forgotten all about school. I washed all thoughts of the plane geometry out of my mind. But someone else hadn’t.
I snatched the phone when it rang. Mrs. Lippencott greeted me.
I felt like a dump truck slammed a load of parallelograms and rhombuses down on my head. I wanted to forget, I ached to scream. Let me forget. It’s summer for goodness sakes!
But this time the news was good.
I aced my final.
Made the Dogs and Frogs come up to a Bat. I was ecstatic about a Bat.
I remember thinking how cool it was she bothered to call (it was summer for her too). She could have waited for me to see the results on my report card. But my teacher wanted me to know I got an A, to see the results of my hard work. She started my summer with that and I’ll forever be grateful.
Did a teacher ever call your home for a positive reason?
*photos by flickr
**Thank you for your sincere responses to my last post!
Monday, October 25, 2010
Ever call someplace and then it hits you there’s a direct line with a better connection?
Friday, October 22, 2010
What is something you did, or wore, or watched in the 80’s you are embarrassed to admit, but will for the sake of answering my One Question Friday?
Thursday, October 21, 2010
**Hop over to The Writers Alley to see what I had to say about When Characters Surprise You
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
People visit your blog for a reason. Perhaps you offer insight into the publishing industry. Or maybe you are excellent with crafts. When you open a gushing wound and write a litany of curses at Whosit because they recently maligned you in some way, you enter a whole new ball park. And it’s an ugly place to play. Honestly, few people care about Whosit and what they did. They come for the publishing advice. They come for the crafts. If you are slandering Whosit for what they did, will you be quick to misinterpret Sensitive Sally’s comment? Will you trash talk Inquiring Inky next?
The Internet is a wacky land. A Merry-Go-Round of sorts. You say one thing over on one side and you never expect the people all the way on the other side to be gawking at you because of what you divulged. How did they hear? How do they know what I wrote? The thing spins, people. Not only that, it goes on and on and on. What you write now will still be accessible twenty years from now.
Picture this. You crave someone’s attention—say an agent or an editor, maybe. So you start flapping your gums trying to get their attention. “They are so busy. They’ll never notice me. I’ll say something that will get to them like a fire poker to their slush pile. I’ll get ’em riled up.” You might as well be standing at a waterhole waving your arms frantically at the gator eyeing you. Know what the alligator sees? Fodder. He. Will. Eat. You. There is such thing as the wrong kind of attention.
Self-pity likes to dress up as Humility for Halloween. Don’t be fooled. It’s just a costume. Self-pity and bitterness look nothing like humility. Humility is taking a hard look at yourself and confessing you have hurt others as well. It’s searching for and finding a way to extend the forgiveness and grace God gave you. This is Holy Spirit work.
Once you wield your slingshot of insults, every word out of your mouth will be assessed. This goes hand in hand with losing trust. You also lose respect. People have to ask themselves, “Do I believe this?” Your credibility is weakened and your sincerity scarred.
Was it Duran Duran who sang about shouting and letting it all out? Um, no thanks. I’m beginning to understand that the moment of our greatest anger is the best moment to pray. What, you think God doesn’t get anger? Oh, He got angry. But Jesus didn’t hike from town to town going off about what the people did to him in the town before. He knew about the spinning world. He also knew how to go to the One who had the power to do something about it.
You might think writing an obnoxious comment or posting a list of ways you were offended strengthens you in some unfathomable way. It doesn’t. It’s actually like someone has cut you open and your guts are hanging out (there’s an image for you). Really. Your own desperate need to be filled up by others, and to have them hold a high opinion of you is dangling outside of you like a warped gall bladder. You are insecure. We all are in our own way. Why broadcast it by bringing someone else down?
You want to shine God’s light to others and to come across loving. There’s nothing loving about detailing your anger in Roman numeral format. No light is shining when you’re calling names as though you’re on an elementary school playground.
*photo by flickr
***For the record, as I wrote this I kept thinking how my blog followers are the last group of people who need to read this post. You’ve been kindhearted, thought-provoking, and sincere with your comments. For that I thank you. Yeah for class!
Monday, October 18, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
This is my screensaver. I took this picture while walking Marginal Way in Ogunquit, Maine, easily one of my favorite places on earth. Why do I keep this picture as my screensaver? Because of what I perceive within the picture. Because of what’s beyond—the story within.
And I look at it, express the same sentiment but am also deeply thankful for an enhanced perception.
I’m convinced that is the unique blessing writers are given—enhanced perception.
Check out a snippet from one of my favorite poems by William Blake
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
I have a theory about creative folks. It’s a test, actually. I’m willing to bet most creative thinkers, writers, artists, etc. look up at the clouds and drift back to a child-like wonder. Clouds transform into something more. They are no longer about precipitation. They become shapes of perception.
If you consider yourself a creative person, am I right? Do you often catch yourself seeing beyond—in relationships and in clouds?
Friday, October 8, 2010
The Preacher’s Bride. The beginning hooked me. The middle swept me off my feet and the end left me with an overall feeling of contentment. Now that’s the definition of a good book. My friend, Jody Hedlund orchestrated a beautiful story, creating a rich cast of characters with deft attention and intentionality. I flipped pages quickly. My mind was transfixed as I read the entertaining and tension-building plot.
One of my favorite parts of the book doesn’t occur until the end in the Author’s Notes. I love what’s revealed in these notes. It added to the satisfying impact of The Preacher’s Bride—a book I’d highly recommend.
Well done, Jody!
In case you miss the One Question Friday, I’ll hit you with one. If you’ve been blessed to know Jody through social networking, what have you learned from her?
**Click over to Jill Kemerer’s blog today for a party
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
So I’m not running up and down my stairs, but here’s what I am doing before I sit to write:
I clear my mind of distractions
Are you laughing yet? I know, impossible in a home with three young children. I can work with distractions, but I try to minimize them. I turn off my phone. I keep a piece of paper near me so I can jot something that crops up I might need to throw on a list. And oddly enough, though music pumps in my veins, I cannot write with it so I make sure the TV is off and no music is playing.
I get into character
I would be a sad, sad actress. I can’t bluff. But I throw myself into my characters. I want to feel what they’re feeling. I want to remember details of their backstory before I touch down on the page. I climb inside my narrator’s head before I type a single word for the day.
I set the scene
I close my eyes and visualize where I am in the book. The setting. The scene. What is happening. I watch it in my mind like a movie.
Yep. My words are no good if I haven’t taken a moment to dedicate them.
I send signal to my girls (if they’re in the house) that Mommy is entering the zone
Time for quiet time. When I write I make sure it’s at a convenient time (whenever possible—this gets tested a lot). I protect my time and instruct my girls not to interrupt me (and because I parent with an expert Mary Poppins skill, they never do).
I read over my notes
Sometimes I review and edit the prior chapter, sometimes not, based on time. But I do read notes I’ve made about the character, scene additions, and new discoveries.
I remember my audience
I take a moment to remember who I’m writing for and who I’m writing to.
I gather tea, pens, and all of my supplies so I don’t need to stop writing. I’ve been known to grab three pens in case one loses ink, then the next one loses ink. As most writers know slipping out of the zone is a crashing experience.
What do you do to prepare before partaking in something you love?
Monday, October 4, 2010
**wanted to expound upon this, but we had a long car trip yesterday, we got home late, and some of us are battling a stomach bug. I plan to win.
Friday, October 1, 2010
**What’s Listening Got to Do With It? Find out what I think over at Sage.
***photos by flickr
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