Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I love watching the Olympics. In years past I preferred the summer games over the winter, but this year has changed that. There are still many things I don't understand about sports like curling or hockey and I am okay with that. It's the individual stories that has me riveted to the television, the journey of one person toward winning a gold medal, the dreams and hopes of a country holding their breath. Sometimes I get so excited it feels like my heart stops as I wait to see who will win.
I am amazed at the things a human body can do and when they talk about how much the athletes have to train to prepare for this event, this one chance every four years, I can't help but feel thankful that I am a writer not an athlete. I don't have to wait for one opportunity every four years for my writing to be recognized or to see the realization of my lifelong dreams. Nor do I have a whole nation counting on me and a world routing against me. Over all I have a pressure-free life and, even better, I have the rest of my life to write with no end to my physical ability to create.
Watching the Olympics inspires me to become the best I can be. It stokes the hope that dreams can be realized, if I persevere and don't give in to doubt. The only thing that can stop me is myself.
Have the Olympics inspired you in any way? What helps motivate you to keep writing? I'd love to know. Let's talk shop!
Monday, February 22, 2010
My copy is copyright 1986, and Goldberg's Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life (1990) is combined in this particular printing. I return to this volume again and again.
This is not a writing how-to, exactly, though it is full of how-tos, as the following two sentences from the chapter "Original Detail":
"Life is so rich, if you can write down the real details of the way things were and are, you hardly need anything else. Even if you transplant the beveled windows, slow-rotating Rheingold sign, Wise potato chip rack, and tall red stools from the Aero Tavern that you drank in in New York into a bar in a story in another state and time, the story will have authenticity and groundedness."
Goldberg is a teacher as well as a poet, essayist, and novelist, a fact that reflects in every one of her short chapters that weave together a myriad of details about technique and discussion of the reasons for the effort itself. Reading her work is like sitting in conversation with a very talented writer friend.
Robert Pirig, the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, describes her as having "the simple style of a Zen archer who looks like he's not even aiming, yet sends arrow after arrow to the bull's-eye time after time."
A few more illustrative quotes:
"The problem is we think we exist."
"Learn to trust the force of your own voice."
"If something works, it works. If it doesn't, quit beating an old horse. Go on writing. Something else will come up. There's enough bad writing in the world. Write one good line, you'll be famous. Write a lot of lukewarm pieces, you'll put people to sleep."
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
by Michael Franzese
(c) 2009 Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Author Michael Franzese, a former mob boss, ex-con, and the youngest individual on Fortune magazine's survey of "The Fifty Biggest Mafia Bosses" (at one point he was earning millions every week) has advice for anyone who is looking to beat the odds. Since being released from prison (he served eight years of a ten year prison sentence for racketeering) Mr. Franzese has reinvented himself ... this time on the right side of the law.
When Mr Franzese joined the Colombo crime family his philosophies were pure Machiavellian (the end always justifies the means). Today the author has this to say about his past, "... following the Machiavellian philosophy doesn't make you a bad person by itself. But I can tell you this: if you follow his line of thinking, it does make you susceptible to your own failings and moral corruptions."
Today, he follows Solomon's path believing that business and life should be managed with integrity, following a reliable moral and legal compass. King Solomon (whom he refers to as "the original wiseguy") does not allow one to compromise (either values or integrity - both of which he places a high premium on) to be successful. Solomon's way does not repay an injustice with a further injustice. Instead, he deals with it appropriately and wisely ... he does not spread false rumors ... or resort to unfair business practices ... or work to obtain money dishonestly ... nor allow the dishonest actions of another to cause him to compromise his own high standards. Chapter titles include: First, Nail Down the Basics; Lead with Your Brain, Not Your Mouth; Get the Right Idea About Success.
Using stories from his own life Mr. Franzese tells it like it is. No hiding, no excuses. I'll Make You An Offer You Can't Refuse is well written and told in a straight forward manner. At the end of each chapter there is a GET THE MESSAGE summary of the chapter's important themes. The book addresses the current housing crisis, the country's massive debt, arrogant CEOs, and the need to rethink business practices.
The author is a man on a mission, he considers himself lucky to be alive, now he wants to share his experiences with others. This book would make a good gift for the college graduate, Father's Day, or any student of life, or budding entrepreneur.
note: Purchasing this book means that you also get a free ebook and an audio version. Perhaps this is an offer you shouldn't refuse.
This book was provided by Nelsonfree, Thomas Nelson, Inc. for review.
Lucille Clifton, National Book Award winner and former poet laureate of Maryland, died Saturday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She was 73.
Mrs. Clifton, a resident of Columbia, was a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and was honored on many other occasions during her career. She was awarded honorary degrees from the University of Maryland and Towson University. She was the poet-in-resident at Coppin State College between 1971 and 1974. The second woman and the first African American to serve as poet laureate of Maryland, she was also the first black woman to win the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize award, in 2007, among the most prestigious awards that can be won by an American poet. It included at $100,000.00 stipend.
Besides her eleven poetry collections, Mrs. Clifton published 20 children's books, and her poems have appeared in more than 100 anthologies, according to her biography.
Mrs. Clifton and her husband, Fred Clifton, a philosophy professor at the University of Buffalo, moved to Baltimore in the 1960s and had six children. Her husband died in the 1984. (source The Baltimore Sun February 14, 2010)
The wind carries an antiseptic bite and also
the clicking sound of ice-coated branches.
A male cardinal calls,
He flits like fire through the shimmering
glisten of his ink-drawn world.
Winter is not silent, still like death.
It is only a cleansing pause, the quiet season.
Previously published in Chesapeake, a publication of the National League of American Pen Women, 1996; and again in "From The Front Porch," Spotlights #19, The Harford Poetry and Literary Society, 1997.
Monday, February 15, 2010
"But the second stage of dormancy--called rest -- is controlled from within. A seedling in the resting stage will not grow, no matter how favorable the environment. A warm January will not tempt it out; it heeds an inner clock, and emerges from dormancy only in the fullness of time, under the most deeply favorable conditions. This aids in the safe and healthy propagation of life."
—From Sabbath, "Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest," by Wayne Muller (Bantam Books, 1999)
How, then, do we balance our busy-ness with rest? How do you find time and space in your life for deep refreshment?
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
* Meet Lesa, December 5, 2008
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
"A nice deal is worth $1 - $49,000.00." I give them time to to consider the possibilities.
"A very nice deal means you will receive $50,000 - $99,000.00." I watch as eyes light up and smiles are exchanged. A few students nod their heads.
"While a good deal pays just a little better ... $100,000 - $250,000.00." The room becomes very quiet. No one says a word. But I'm not finished.
"A significant deal ... means the book deal is a big deal and the range is between $251,000 - $499,000.00." I look down at my notes.
"And the final deal is considered a major deal and is worth $500,000 and up." And we all laugh.
Cash prizes of $100, $50, and $25 dollars are awarded for first, second, and third place in each of four categories: children/youth (grades 1-8), students (grades 9-12), adults (ages 18-59) and seniors (ages 60+). In addition to the cash awards, winners enjoy a public reception where they can recite their winning poems.
This event is unique to the area and offers an excellent opportunity for aspiring and accomplished poets to have their work judged by working writers and to read to an audience. Teachers are encouraged to incorporate the contest into classroom studies and to submit student work for the contest. Entrants must be residents, students, or employees in the participating counties. They may not submit previously published or award winning poems. Staff members of the participating arts councils are not eligible. Winners will be notified no later than the second week of April. Full details and rules are available with each entry form.
The deadline for submission is March 1. Deliver entry forms with poems to the Queen Anne's County Arts Council by Feb. 28 or send with postmark by March 1. An entry form is required for contest consideration. Entry forms are available through the participating local arts councils: Caroline 410-479-1009, Cecil 410-392-5740, Kent 410-778-3831, Queen Anne's 410-758-2520 and Talbot 410-310-9812.
For more information:
Ms. Skloot agreed, at least in the beginning.
Later that night, at home, she changed her mind. And with the help of her brain-damanged father Floyd Skloot (also an author, who has written about the neurologic damage he suffered from a virus in the 1980s) they went public (Ms Skloot has many friends on Twitter and FB) and The Immortal Book Tour was launched. Within days an expense -paid trip was booked at a medical school in Ohio ... and a nearby bookstore later that evening.
Ms. Skloot: "Now, I'm not suggesting that posting a request for help on Facebook will miraculously result in a successful book tour. Far from it. A plan like this requires an established social network, something writers should start developing years before publishing a book...."
To learn more about the author and the book tour http://www.rebeccaskloot.com/
How To Connect With Readers -
Topic for discussion: Writers do you have a presence on Twitter ... Facebook? Do you have an active blog and or website? Do you know what to post and how often...
Please share your thoughts with us....
(This post is based on an author interview. PW November 2009)
Monday, February 8, 2010
CONTACT: Karina Fabian Ann Margaret Lewis
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail: email@example.com
For Immediate Release
Catholic Writers Conference Online Provides Practical Help
World Wide Web--This year's Catholic Writers’ Conference Online, which will be held February 26-March 5, 2010, will focus on the practical things the writer needs to succeed.
The conference is held via chats and forums at www.catholicwritersconference.com. Sponsored by the Catholic Writer’s Guild, the online conference is free of charge and open to writers of all levels who register between October 1, 2009 and February 15, 2010.
"We've always concentrated on workshops and chats that teach the writer skills or provide information in the areas of crafting, publishing and marketing their works, but this year, we're adding critique workshops and some incredible opportunities to pitch to leading publishers," said organizer Karina Fabian.
This year, publishers hearing pitches include well known Catholic publishers like Pauline, large Christian publishers like Thomas Nelson, and smaller presses like White Rose. Thus far, eleven pitch sessions are scheduled, running the gamut from Christian romance to Catholic theology.
In a new program, at least fifty attendees will have the opportunity to have pieces of their work critiqued by successful editors and writers. In addition, there will be forum-based workshops and chat room presentations covering topics from dialogue to freelancing to how Catholic fiction differs from Christian fiction.
"Even in good economic times, it's hard for writers to attend live conferences," said Fabian, "but this year, we think it's even more important to help careers by utilizing an online format. We're so grateful that our presenters are willing to share their time and talent."
Early registration is recommended. Although the conference is offered free of charge, donations are accepted; proceeds will go toward future conferences. Non-Catholics may attend, as long as they respect Catholic beliefs and the conference's Catholic focus.
To register or for more information, go to http://www.catholicwritersconference.com./
A Southern Mirrored Window
“The Help,” a novel about the relationships between African-American maids and their white employers in 1960s Mississippi, has the classic elements of a crowd pleaser: it features several feisty women enmeshed in a page-turning plot, clear villains and a bit of a history lesson.
The book, a debut novel by Kathryn Stockett, also comes with a back story that is a publishing dream come true: at first rejected by nearly 50 agents, the manuscript was scooped up by an imprint of Penguin and pushed aggressively to booksellers, who fell in love with it...
Note: I purchased my copy of "The Help" last week and glanced at the numbered print run (my copy is part of the 44th print run). Curious, I did a quick Internet search ... this book is a first novel that was rejected over and over. Lesson for aspiring writers, write a good book and keep it out there. Dreams do come true.
While I haven't finished the book I am hooked. Have you read this one?
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
You can contribute to a Catholic book being published, “Letters to Priests, Thanking The Men Of The Catholic Church.” At last an opportunity to thank priests for their every day dedication to healing, help and support of those who seek help.
Authors Anne Hughes and Teena Adamick are looking for writers.
This new publication will be a compilation of letters of thanks written by people from all over the world who have been helped, supported and encouraged by a priest/priests. Please join us in this opportunity for healing.
Sharing your letter of thanks may be healing for you and others. Many of us share the same sorrows and in thanking your priest you may be a source of hope and healing for others as they read of your journey and have deeper hope for their own journey. Please join us in this new publication dedicated to healing through expressions of thanks, hope and encouragement.
E-mail Anne Hughes or Teena Adamick
at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit
or send a letter to
P.O. Box 482
Ada, Michigan, 49301.
Please consider writing your story of gratitude. It will make you proud to be a Catholic. What a great gift to give your children on their wedding day. This is a book in progress. Your post may be published. Healing comes in many forms. Gratitude, and thank you notes, are profound for both the writer and the receiver. Catholics have tools to help them through life’s struggles, prayer, the Rosary, and Priests.
You can write about divorce, grieving, loss of jobs, happiness, whatever part of life a Priest helped you with. Thank them for words that guided your life.
Peggy's a freelance writer specializing in pets, with a twice-monthly column, "5 Things About Pets" and stories in The Ultimate Dog Lover, Miracles and Animals, and others. She writes on assignment for Guideposts magazine and is a regular contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her agent has Peggy's first book out on submission.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Larry J. Schweiger, "A Grandfather's Lament," National Wildlife: World Edition, February-March, 2010, 6.
Excerpt, a stanza especially for writers:
WHOEVER'S found out what location
compassion (heart's imagination)
can be contacted at these days,
is herewith urged to name the place;
and sing about it in full voice,
and dance like crazy and rejoice
beneath the frail birch that appears
to be upon the verge of tears.
~ Wislawa Szymborska ~
(Poems New and Collected 1957-1997,
trans. by S. Baranczak and C. Cavanagh)