Friday, August 21, 2009

~Real Simple Magazine Essay Contest~

Real Simple Magazine had an essay contest. You were to write an essay that answered this question:

I decided to write a short essay but thought it failed to be a submittable piece. Nevertheless, here it is. It was a fun prompt and made me think.

Some feel that they have become grown when they get their driver’s license, go off to college, become legal to drink, get married, or have a child. Others may believe that once you reach a certain age you’re a grown-up. I even used to think that at 30-years-old I would be a grown up.

I’m 32-years-old now and I know that’s not the case. Nor, for me, was it when I got married, in fact when I got married I was only 18-years-old, not even able to legally drink. At that time I was sure that I was grown, however, I realized very quickly that I was far from it. After a ten year marriage and divorce I was positive that I had not grown up yet, I had so much to learn, too many things to regret. By the time I re-married I was 29-years-old and I was beginning to think that I had this grown-up gig down pat. Two months after our marriage we found out we were pregnant. I knew at that moment that growing up was still in my future.

At this point I had lost three grandparents and this was when I realized what growing up is all about. It’s not an age, or an accomplishment, it’s a process, a feeling from within and one is really never grown up in the full sense of it. It’s the act of living each day, learning from our mistakes, watching our children grown into individuals.

Noteworthy Novel Notes With Mr. Hemingway

You just have to go on when it is worst and most helpless – there is only one thing to do with a novel and that is go straight on through to the end of the damn thing ~ Ernest Hemingway

This is where I am with my novel. I am feeling ‘helpless’. Lost, without the anchor of a solid story line. I know what I would like to happen but once I start writing the characters tell me, order me to listen without arguments. Therefore, the story has taken many twists and turns.

I was given a piece of advice from my mentor, Denne, he said “Write until you know where you will start the next day,” he felt it was most important to write daily. Denne was mentored by Ernest Hemingway, himself, a gift indeed.

I was reading Ernest Hemingway on Writing and found a passage within the section about Working Habits, a letter between Ernest and someone he called Mice:

Mice: How much should you write a day?
E.H.: The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never be stuck. That is the most valuable thing I can tell you so try to remember it.
Mice: All right.
E.H.: Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start. Once you are into the novel it is as cowardly to worry about whether you can go on the next day as to worry about having to go into inevitable action. You have to go on. So there is no sense to worry. You have to learn that to write a novel. The hard part about a novel is to finish it.
Mice: How can you learn not to worry?
E.H.: By not thinking about it. As soon as you start to think about it stop it. Think about something else. You have to learn that.
By-Line: Ernest Hemingway, pp.216-217

This is fantastic advice! I will be working on a my WIP (Novel) or a new idea I have for this upcoming Novembers NaNoWriMo...I do plan to call upon these words to help me through.

Ernest Hemingway on Writing

'At Home In The World' by Joyce Maynard

At Home in the World is a meaningful glance into Joyce Maynard’s personal narrative. This account, if needed, will stimulate integrity, and bravery for writers in need of insight. Joyce, whom has a background filled with creative inspiration, was stifled from writing about it in an open and honest way. It was not until many years later, after weathering a dysfunctional family that included emotional abuse, alcoholism, eating disorders, and clinical depression, to spending a life-changing year, living, learning, and loving J.D. Salinger.
It is incredible how Joyce was able to develop, not only as a truthful writer but also as a woman, speaking honestly about the world, as well as being a part of it - despite JD Salinger. - JD wrote her a letter in response to her article published in The New York Times, telling her not to listen to any advice given her regarding her writing. However, he himself stood in the way of her becoming her own voice. She had to break away from him in order to start, if you will, her real life, as a writer with a voice of her own.

I myself, requested the article that started it all, in response to my request I received the article as well as an email from Joyce herself. She was kind and encouraging. I asked for her blessing to write this piece and she gave it willingly, reminding me not to write for anyone but myself and to write with courage and truth. Something JD definitely did not empower her to do. She had to conquer his strong hand in order to do this. Joyce has become the type of writer she had once hoped JD to be, an enriching piece of equipment in the world of writers rather than a dictator of prose and purpose. I respect Joyce for her courage.

Being completely honest with ourselves as humans is always a challenge, a curse really, to be truly forthcoming with our innermost thoughts and feelings, to share our success as well as our flaws in an open, unadulterated way. Sure, we all have our secrets, healthy most often, but the real question is how can a writer be successful in life if works they produce are false, fake, or bogus? I would venture to say, as in any station in this world, they would fail, both personally and professionally. A life of hiding how you really are, and your authentic experiences, is a life not worth sharing. Joyce admits herself, that the writing she did prior to At Home in the World was merely laced with truth, leaving the better part to fiction, masquerading as fact. This made me, regrettably, hesitant to read anything from her earlier work. JD wanted Joyce to write only superficially while discrediting her for it at the same time. Joyce herself wrote “…I had been holding on to secrets that kept me from understanding or explaining myself. I knew it was time at last to explore my story.” She had to overcome wanting and forcing herself to please everyone else and just tell ‘her’ story, not for anyone but herself.

Listening to ones inner voice, the response of our body, during times of uncertainty, is yet another amazing lesson to take from Joyce’s experience. Joyce’s body did not respond to JD’s constant attempts at sexual intercourse because emotionally he was not taking care of her.
Only after Joyce entered into a loving, kind, and healthy relationship did her heart open as well as her physical body. Through her life transformation and advancement, Joyce has been able to heal from her past and be able to let it go, in a spirited manner, with much opposition. A lesson all humans can walk away with and an even greater lesson for a writer to discover and endeavor to grasp.

For a look at Joyce's brand new book:
check out her web site

Friday, August 14, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

I was asked to do an interview for one of my blogger friends about my writing. It will be posted on her site August 15th...check it out! Lori is a great writer that has been very supportive of many and their endeavors.

Thank you Lori for this opportunity! Thank you for being so encouraging!


I've decided to take part in this years NaNoWriMo...during the month of November I'm going to write 50k words on either an original story or work from a new starting point in my current WIP...haven't decided yet.

Would anyone like to share their thoughts?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Artistic Goals- A letter application for a writing retreat

September 26, 2008

My name is Lydia and I’m thirty-one years of age. I’ve been married to my wonderful and supportive husband for almost three years. In February of last year we had our daughter. Motherhood has been the best ride of my life. Hard and seems impossible at times until she smiles or laughs, than I thank God for the gift of a child. We live in the Gulf Coast area of Mississippi. Being born and raised on the West Coast, moving here has been a huge change. I am really enjoying the South however, and eventually would like the chance to travel.

To explain my writing endeavors, I would like to share an experience with you. When I was a young girl I often thought of becoming a writer. When speaking to my parents about this they encouraged me to go for it. They told me to work hard and no matter what I wanted, if I worked hard enough, I would accomplish it. I have fantastic parents and hope to be like them with Amelia.

I began writing poetry first. To be honest, I don’t even remember how old I was. Poetry is an art that I’ve always valued and enjoyed writing. I remember sharing my poetry with my parents and the look on their faces as they read it. It brought them great joy. I don’t know if they were smiling because it was so horrible or if it was because they knew how hard I had worked at it. I would venture to say it was the latter. The thing is, the reason they were smiling and enjoying my poetry didn’t matter to me as much as the thought that my poetry had made them feel something. That was the beginning of my addiction to writing.

I continued my writing of poetry and attempted at times to write essays and prose. Failed attempts did not affect me because I kept hearing my parents’ words…”if you work hard enough at it you will accomplish it.”

When I was about nine years old my grandfather passed away. He had been living with my parents and I. My mother and I were home at the time of his death. For a nine year old it was a strange and scary moment. I had nightmares and was afraid to be in the house where he had died. I had difficulties in school as well as trouble dealing with all the emotions I had. As things do, with time, it got better. We moved to another house and soon I was back to ‘normal’.

It wasn’t until eight years later that I wrote about that day. It was for an assignment in my literature class. My teacher was Ms. Symms; she was one of those fantastic life changing teachers. She wrote amazing notes in the margins, asking me to “enrich my imagery” and to add more “noise and voice” to my writing. I received an A on the assignment, but that wasn’t the best part. I’ll never forget the way I felt when she handed me my paper and told me that my story had moved her to tears.

(A side note: I was able to reconnect with Ms. Symms years later and let her know just how important she was and is in my life. We hugged and cried together. It was an amazing experience all around.)

I had taken a moment in time that was deeply powerful and painful, but necessary to write about and I had moved someone else with my words. That was the most exhilarating feeling and from that moment on I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to share myself through words, hopefully moving others to feel things they’ve may never have felt before.

I have since completed many more poems, articles, one one-act play and a screenplay. My goal right now is trying to have a more regimen writing schedule since Amelia was born. I’ve got a third possibly a half of my first novel completed and it is burning inside me to finish it.

It is for that reason that I would adore and treasure the time spent at Wellspring House. To focus my thoughts, do further research, and get my novel on its way to completion.

Thank you immensely for taking the time to consider my application.

Salmon on a Wednesday

Cheeze-it’s, hard lemonade, salty river,
Giggles and goats, chartreuse lures,
white cranes, sunny blue sky.
Big fisherman in little boats,
Grandpa holding tight even though he might fall,
peeing in a bucket that cuts into your thigh,
numbered buoys as we pass by.
Big nets, small flags,
cool wind on our faces as we accelerate.
Forest as far as we can see,
shades of yellow, orange and red as our summer
fades away, up the river on a Wednesday.
Smell of wood stoves
fishy perfume, trees and boat fumes.
A day spent without a watch.
Only family and memories in the making.
“A smell not many will experience,”
one of the last lumber mills around.
Smells like lumber, only not,
as a logging truck climbs the mountain.
Trolling motor vibrating in twelve feet of water.
Fishing for salmon, Chinook to be exact
yet, catching them won’t measure the worth of this day.