Dry the Rain...

 

Between the west (earthquake and tsunami warnings) and the east (mega-super-frankenstorm of the century) our continent has taken an emotional and physical hit. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you who have been effected by nature. So that is pretty much everyone.

At times like these I find myself dwelling on the devastation, the photos and news clips of disaster, but I remind myself instead to consider how these situations prompt so many people to rise and serve. From emergency workers who risk their lives, to line workers to restore power, to doctors and nurses treating the injured, to people distributing supplies.

I am brought to tears by how beautiful we human beings can be. I am currently reading the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. (No, I haven't been getting much sleep. It is riveting!) In the world she created people are divided into factions based on a single attribute: Erudite, valuing intelligence above all else, the Candor, who are honest, the Dauntless, the fearless and so on...there are also the Abnegation, the selfless. The flaw with a society like that is (of course!) we humans are multi-faceted and complicated, but in Divergent it is just another way to codify. It happens in other ways in our current society, but I digress. I see brave and selfless among us today as we recover from natural disaster. From my heart, I thank you Dauntless and Abnegation.
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A few things I know...



1. We are all beautiful, worthy and innately good. Just a reminder.

2. Gifting yourself a bouquet of flowers smells like sunshine.

3. Clams do not like to be eaten.

4. A writer writes every day (or edits or outlines or researches) with weekends off (usually) to recharge the brain and generate inspiration.

5. A writer reads...a lot. And cookbooks do count.

6. Nourishing the body with food, exercise and sunshine is vital.

7. Ditto nourishing the heart with friends, family and activities that are like play. For example: gardening, surfing, photography....

8. Sometimes a bath in the rain is just what we need to wash away what we think are sorrows. Tears work too.

9. The smell of apple pie baking is almost as good as eating a slice of it. Almost.

10. "Happiness isn't wanting what you can get, but wanting what you have." -Beverly Lewis TRUTH.


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The Plateau

"Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead."
-- Louisa May Alcott

 
When you've got your nose to the grindstone and are crossing all your t's and dotting your i's, when you put forth 110% and keep at it tirelessly and then there is a kind of silence that isn't the pause of the clicking of keys, the stream of thought or the scratching of pencil on paper, when you think that the silence is no one listening, when it feels like you've reached an endless plateau and for a moment you wonder if you're on the right path, take a deep breath, listen for your heart and when you hear its patter, the sound of confirmation, go back to it.
 
And make sure you spell the word forty correctly.
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Logline Revision from MSFV via KT Crowley

 
 
Check out my logline revision from Miss Snark's First Victim's Logline Critique...kindly hosted by K.T. Crowley on her blog. Click here to read and comment.
 
No idea what any of that means? Click here.  
 
I've learned so much from this great community of writers. Thank you!
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On aging...


 
Sometimes washing the towels is like therapy. "Look they're clean! No stains!" But most of the time going out and getting dirty with life is the thing. As I approach my birthday I look back on another year. A lot has happened while the towels were getting washed, but I reckon as youth flits away I ought to spend a little more time getting muddy. Thanks for the reminder Marianne.
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Ode to Kale





Kale,

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee fresh from the farmer’s market on warm summer days.

I love thee plucked from the garden before the chickens nibble at you.

Whether you are green, purple, dinosaur or if you prefer, lacinto, with fringe or curly-cue.

I love thee raw in a salad, blitzed in a blender or baked and eaten as a chip.

I love thee with tahini sauce, in a smoothie or with dip.

However you are served up my taste buds savor every bite.

My body sings with ecstasy at the nutrition you provide.

Kale without you I am devoid.

Beta Carotene, vitamin K, C, lutein and calcium.

Ooh, you make my cells hum.

You bloom like a flower.

And cook up in under an hour.

From Ireland to Japan you are enjoyed the world over.

Kale you are a most delicious lover.
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"We are the Makers of Pearls"





 
 
Get funk{e} and do some good...my dear pal Nicole: upcycler, designer and all around mega-fabulous gal is donating one scarf to Queens Medical Center Honolulu for every one purchased. Click here for the details.
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Panem


After suffering from motion sickness while watching the Hunger Games in an XD theater I eagerly awaited the DVD version so I could watch it without turning green.

 
Because I like me a good theme I also baked this bread to go along with the event. It's hearty simplicity evoked my corresponding feelings about Katniss and her story. I'm grateful I can go to the store, buy an abundance of ingredients, ease-fully spend a morning kneading dough and waiting for it to rise, then later that evening watch a movie with no fear my kids are going to be entered into a reaping. I count my blessings that whatever complaints I have about politics, it isn't those particular to children being entered into an arena to fight to the death. Some may draw parallels to modern society, but not that, certainly not that.
 
 
 

“Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.”
-Suzanne Collins
 

 
“Destroying things is much easier than making them.” 
-Suzanne Collins

 
“I am not pretty. I am not beautiful. I am as radiant as the sun.” 
-Suzanne Collins


“I don't want to lose the boy with the bread.” 
-Suzanne Collins

 
 
 “Deep in the meadow, hidden far away
A cloak of leaves, a moonbeam ray
Forget your woes and let your troubles lay
And when it's morning again, they'll wash away
Here it's safe, here it's warm
Here the daisies guard you from every harm
Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true
Here is the place where I love you.” 
-Suzanne Collins
 



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My writing process...usually.




"Write what you love and love what you write." -Ray Bradbury


The other day in a group text a good friend lamented, "How does Deirdre write and edit so much and not lose it?" I didn't answer because I had to think about my response.

Sometimes I do lose it. Sometimes my butt goes numb from sitting for five hours. Sometimes when the phone rings I don't answer it because I don't want an interruption to break my flow. Sometimes I do answer and am so deep in my mind I forget how to have a real conversation and not one between two fictional characters. Sometimes when I unfold myself from a hunched position I can practically hear my yoga teachers cringing. Sometimes I write, write and write and scrap it all. Sometimes I edit and edit and edit and wonder who the heck wrote this? Was she drunk? (FYI: I don't drink so there's that mystery.)

So yeah, sometimes I lose it. I lose the path, the thread, the way. I really do. But I love writing so much I can usually find my way right back.

For now, this is my writing process...

  • I become inspired by an idea I think is so great I'm willing to commit 100% of my creative resources to it. Or become inspired by an idea I think has potential and see where it takes me. Sometimes nowhere and that's okay. If I keep my eyes, ears and heart open usually there's another just behind it.

  • I jot down ideas, whole scenes or that singular inspiration that may or may not have potential on paper in a notebook with a pen or pencil - the old fashioned way. I keep the notebook by my bed because if a story really hooks me it will scratch and claw at the doorway to my mind until I let it in, think it through and write it down. (Those kinds of ideas I do not want to forget.)

  • As I sit with the story, usually for about a week or so names, places, pertinent details will continue to come as if beckoned by catnip and I'll add these to the growing pages in my notebook.

  • I clear as much as possible from my to-do list. I am the kind of person who requires that my space, etc. has some semblance of order otherwise I feel distracted. That's just me. So I tackle the todos within reason, but don't let anything keep me from getting to work. For example each day I take about a half hour to put away the dishes, toss in a load of laundry and make sure the bills are paid. After all, my laptop needs electricity. There's always more to clean, more to do, etc. but likely it can wait until later, but I don't put off writing for another day...Tsk. Tsk that day may come and go and likely I will remember a story I wrote but not how organized and clean my house was, unless I'm writing a book on the subject. For me it is simply a matter of striking a balance.

  • Then I start writing. I copy the ideas from my notebook into a document and have at it. I find, after sitting with the story, generating ideas on paper, it usually flows pretty readily from fingertips to keys. Blocks, challenges, etc. are a subject for another post.

  • Depending on what I am writing I may go back to my notebook or open a new document and create an outline or at least cover the major plot points. It depends on the material. For my first YA fiction I wrote then got myself into a position where writing down, what was going to happen and when, was essential if only to keep making sense. On my second YA fiction (still WIP) I did an extensive outline and for my most recent Women's Fiction I just made sure I was clear (I get clear by actually writing things down in this case just in note form- not a ten page outline) on the story arc, conflict, etc.

  • When I think I'm done with the book I use the spell/grammar check then read/edit it directly on the computer.

  • Then I print it out and edit it again, this time on paper with a pink pen.

  • Then I copy over those edits into the draft in my computer then reread the whole thing again. Aloud.

  • Then I print it out once more and read and/or give it to a friend to have a go at it. During this time I often wonder, what have I done? I sent my baby into the world, will she be okay? Will she be taken care of? What if it's awful? What if no one likes her? I wring my hands and pace.

  • Then I let it sit for a while, a week, sometimes less, sometimes more to have a break then read it again. And sometimes again. And again. And again. Editing it over and over.  

I use a version of this process for everything I've written, but each story and experience is unique, so I may read and edit more on one than another or offer a copy to multiple friends or just keep it greedily to myself.

I can't say enough about editing. That being said, if you can read the same thing over and over, maybe a dozen times and still feel as in love with it as you did the first time or sometimes even more, well that in itself is what writing and creating is all about. I would say a hearty yes to an agent and publication, but the pleasure and pride from having written something you love is a mighty good feeling. And that my friend is how I don't lose it.
 
 
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
 

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Just when you think you know someone...

...he goes and bakes you a cake, an apple cake at that.



I entered the house to the scent of baking apples and an hour later that cake didn't only find its way to my stomach, but directly to my heart. That old saying, "The quickest way to a man's heart is through his stomach," rubbish. It's the quickest way to a woman's heart or any one's for that matter.

This delectable Apple Cake - recipe here was perfect served warm with a dab of fresh made whipped cream. I didn't realize I'd married Martha Stewart's protege, but then after he'd had his fill he returned back outside and resumed chopping wood. So maybe not. In either case it was apple-licious!
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