It’s Up to You

I’ve been trying to choose one of my stories to put on the blog, and I can’t. So I’m leaving it up to you, Reader. Below are some “story seeds” and excerpts from stories I’ve been working or wanting to work on. Choose your favorite, tell me why, and I’ll develop one (or more) to put on the blog.

Sara looked into the bright light for several seconds, then closed her eyes. Immediately the commercials began to play. They glitched between a new meal replacement pill flavor, a smiling woman advertising gum you didn’t have to chew, Gryce Industries’ latest air-cycle model, and a few others before the doctor told her to open her eyes.

“Well, I can make adjustments,” he said, “but your lenses will need to be reprogrammed by a specialist.” He consulted her chart downloading to his Class 8 lenses, flipping pages with a few flicks of his right eye.

“Fortunately, this is all covered on your plan, so the procedure shouldn’t cost more than four credits.” He smiled at her reassuringly. “It won’t hurt a bit.”

Sara sank into the hard plastic chair. She’d heard that lie before.

 

 

It is regarded as more of a curiosity rather than a fact that Jedidiah Elias Thurgoode was born on a Friday the thirteenth, just before midnight in the frosty darkness of March. He was a strange child from the beginning, uttering only a perfunctory wail before falling into a solemn silence that would last for the next five and a half years.

His mother died before the midwife could place him in her arms.

His father hung himself in grief.

And so the little lad was sent to live with his next of kin, the ancient Mr. and Mrs. Dowling, who had a quiet little house in a quiet little corner of a quiet little town called Solitude.

 

 

Everyone knows that the Goberarians of Gamruth are stupid, self-important creatures. What they don’t know, is that Goberarians are also terrible cooks, which is why the end of civilization as we know, sorry, knew it, was caused by a cheese sandwich.

 

 

Thomas woke, bleary-eyed, with a head full of fog and cobwebs. The fire had gone down. He rose, stiff,  from underneath his bearskin and fed an armful of sticks from his woodpile to the sputtering flames. As the fire crackled back to life, the sparks illuminated the half finished paintings on the cave wall. Thomas had a vague memory of painting them. They were important. Somehow. 

The paintings were pushed out of his thoughts by the loud rumbling in his stomach. Now all he could think about was food. Time to hunt.

The First Ones watched him with satisfaction. Another job well done. No one would ever interpret Thomas’s crude cave paintings, and even if they did, the First Ones would see to it their discovery died with them.

 

Please leave a comment here or on my FaceBook page as to which story you want to read more of and why. Thanks for reading!

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Image via Pixabay.

Movies About Writing

 

If you are watching a movie that is based on a book, the movie will always be better. Always. But what about movies about writing books? Here are some of my favorites.

  1. Finding Forrester.  This movie is about a reclusive writer and the boy who befriends him, or at least draws him out of his shell. Plus, who doesn’t like Sean Connery? I teared up at a few points, earning this movie a solid 8/10.
  2. Miss Potter. Beatrix Potter ( played by Renée Zellweger) struggles to be taken seriously as a female author and artist in a world dominated by men. Heartwarming and heartbreaking, this movie also gets an 8/10.
  3. Dead Poets Society. Ah, Robin Williams at his finest. “O Captain! My Captain!” sends chills down my spine every time. Although not strictly about writing, this movie follows the life of several students and the teacher who challenges the way they look at the world and themselves. One of the few movies I give a 10/10.

I’ll leave you with this quote:

“So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys—to woo women—and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do.” –Dead Poets Society.

Bread and Jam

Hello Reader.

It’s been a while. In the rush and hurly-burly of life in a new house, I’m afraid I’ve neglected to take the time to write. I could blame it on the fact that my washer suddenly stopped functioning mid-cycle, or that my children monopolize too much of my time, or any number of excuses, but that is exactly what they would be: excuses.

Truth be told, I’ve been baking.  My youngest sister and I both bake when we are stressed, and I often bake  or cook to avoid other responsibilities (such as this blog). I have two loaves of bread cooling on a wire rack, and a creamy, strawberry dessert solidifying in the fridge. Yesterday my children and I made fruit gummies and triple berry syrup for homemade, summertime sodas. I had intended on trying my hand at toffee this afternoon, but I left my candy thermometer at my mother’s house, so now I am forced to sit down and write.

Writing, for me, is a private thing. It is a peek inside my head at the (wo)man behind the curtain, the innermost thoughts and functions of an introverted bookworm. I don’t like putting my writing on display for everyone to see. It’s frightening. So I put it off.

I don’t know why.

When I finally do start writing, it feels..transcendent. I can almost hear a symphony orchestra playing Peer Gynt’s Suite no. 1, Op. 46: Morning Mood. I pour all my energy into the piece; angels harmonize and life is good.

But that’s just the first draft, of course. Editing is another story (pun intended). Still, it feels good to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, and let the words flow.

Meanwhile, I’m going to have a slice of fresh-baked bread, smeared with butter and Daniela’s delicious Saskatoon jam. I wish you all a transcendent weekend.

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Image via Pixabay.

 

 

It Was the Best of Lines, It Was the Worst of Lines

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It’s easy to  look at the books written by the Great Authors and get discouraged. How can you hope to compare with their perfectly crafted sentences, their vivid imagery, their full, fleshed out characters? Well, the Greats came up with some pretty rotten lines too. Check these out.

1) “…though he was wrapped in fire and wounded with many wounds; but at the last he was smitten to the ground by Gothmog…” -The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien. Maybe he was tired of describing the carnage. Maybe he thought he would edit that bit later, but never did. In any case, it lacks Tolkien’s usual finesse.

2) “…his large nostrils dilated; his eye blazed..” Jane Eyre  by Charlotte Brontë. She is describing  Mr. Rochester having a heated argument with Jane, but this line always makes me picture a cranky horse. I also think it’s strange she chose to describe his nostrils as “large.” I’m sure I’ve never looked at a man and thought, “My, what large nostrils you have.” Perhaps the better to smell you with, my dear?

Consider this: Hemingway wrote one of his worst received books, Across the River and Into the Trees two years before the wildly popular The Old Man and the Sea. Lord of the Flies, Gone with the Wind, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone were all rejected multiple times. So write. Write to the best of your ability. You are going to produce some cringe-worthy lines ( I know I have) and that’s okay, as long as you keep writing, keep improving. Who knows? You may be the next Margaret Mitchell.

 

 

The “Write” Tools

I planned tasks out to the extreme up until my early twenties. I would draw up complicated plans, schedules, and lists that never functioned the way I designed them to. Don’t misunderstand me, a good plan or list is invaluable, but, to paraphrase Robert Burns, “The best laid schemes of Mice and Men/oft go awry.” I still plan tasks to the best of my ability, but now I leave plenty of wiggle room. Except when it comes to writing.

 

Writing is one task that will never be accomplished if I do not plan it carefully. Here is a list of tools that help keep me inspired and on track.

1) Books.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. A memoir style book packed with gems of advice.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. This book, while not on writing, helps to focus on priorities and teaches you how to say “yes” to things that are genuinely essential.

The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How to Write It, Sell It, and Market It . . . Successfully by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry. If I only had one book on writing, it would be this one. It’s full of great tips from experts who have been where you are!

2) Websites/Groups.

Aerogramme Writers’ Studio on Facebook. They post insightful articles and humorous memes.

TED Talks. Do you need inspiration? Look no further than this website full of talks given by some of the greatest minds in the world in almost every category you can imagine.

Podcasts: NPR is also an excellent source for inspiration.

3) Apps.

Expresso is a tool I learned of today. Copy and paste your work into this app and it will analyze your weak points.

StoryCorps is a website with a downloadable app that you can use to record interviews. They have questions you can ask, interview lengths (the app with automatically stop after 45 minutes), and you can upload the interview to their archive.

Was this list useful? What tools do you use to help you write?

Hello

My name is Kalico. Yes, like the cat, but with a “k.” No, my mother did not name me after the cat. Or the fabric.It’s just my name. I’ve always enjoyed having an unusual name. It gives me a sense of individualism, of being special, and the keen disappointment of never finding my name on a personalized mug or key chain.

My mother also instilled in me her love of reading.12347713_1530158663975829_5975033143320832240_n

That’s my, “Go away, I’m reading” face.

I read all five of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales (Last of the Mohicans, etc) in less than nine days. I stayed up all night reading Robinson Crusoe, promising myself I would sleep after I finished the chapter, only to realize the book had no chapters about halfway through. I finished it anyway. My love affair with the written word has been a long and enriching journey. Now it’s time for something more.

I’ve dabbled in writing before. I’ve shown a select few bits of my poetry. But I’ve never shared anything of depth on a public forum. To be quite honest, I’m completely terrified to start this blog. I don’t have the most polished grammar, the best word choice, or even particularly well crafted sentences. I’m pretty new to this. So why start?

“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. To Why am I here? To uselessness. It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.”
—Enid Bagnold, author of National Velvet

My name is Kalico, with a “k,” and this is my cactus.