Posts Tagged ‘write’

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5 Parallels Between the Reasons to Vote and the Reasons to Write

November 6, 2019

Yes! Oh No! After an election, voters may feel a tirade of emotions, including elation, anger, sadness, joy, or disgust. Much like writers careening through their journeys, voters ride an emotional roller coaster every two to four years. And although the darker moments can be draining, neither the voter nor the writer should quit. Ever.

A vote in the United States is exactly what defines our country. Freedom. The right to express oneself was hard-earned—for Blacks, for women, and for the white men escaping the king’s laws during the dawn of our democracy. Voting is a privilege and a responsibility, but it’s more than that. Voting is voice.

A writer, too, has voice. Words on the page are executed, hopefully, with passion and organization. Not every writing piece will be well received. Not every candidate will win. Rejection and losing stink. But it is what makes a writer, a person, and a country grow. After a devastating loss, there are two choices: to quit or to pick up the pieces and persevere. So goes it for a well-seasoned writer.

Below are five parallels between the reasons to vote and the reasons to write.

Reasons to Vote

  1. your vote is your voice—you do make a difference
  2. votes lead to policies that will affect your community
  3. it is your right and responsibility
  4. prevent fascism and corruption
  5. become empowered and heard

Reasons to Write

  1. your writing is your voice—you do make a difference
  2. writing leads to words that will affect your community
  3. it is your passion and your prayer
  4. prevent junk reads and fake news
  5. become empowered and heard

Non-action never wins.

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Grandma’s Ring

April 12, 2016

On Easter Sunday, I lost the diamond in my Grandma’s wedding ring. My mom gave me the ring after my grandma died, more than ten years ago. I never took it off—until the diamond disappeared.

Because the ring fit best on my wedding ring finger, I wore it there and shifted my own wedding ring to my right hand. The two fit together, like mated hummingbirds. My own ring is simple, and I wear no band. My grandma’s ring was old but also simple and also worn with no band.

When I discovered the diamond was missing, my entire family helped me search. It happened during a play and probably went down the drain while I washed my hands during intermission. But it doesn’t much matter; it’s gone. What does matter is what the ring represented.IMG_8384

For me, wearing my grandma’s ring was more about remembering her than it was about the bling. My grandma was a fascinating woman; one I wish I’d gotten to know better, as an adult. Back in the day, my grandma was a flapper and nicknamed Dizzy Izzy, probably for more reasons than I was told. Grandma liked gin and tonics and travel and lemon bars. Sadly, she suffered from manic depression and piloted shock treatments during the 1950s and 60s. She helped people. She and her mother were suffragettes, and when I was young, she made me watch a movie with her about the feminist movement in London. During the part where women were being forced food through their noses, I almost threw up. When the movie was over, she turned to me and said, “It’s not a pretty history so don’t take voting for granted. Ever.” Go Grandma.

I wonder what my grandma would say about so many people being so very disgusted with the current political election. What would she say to my daughters who would rather not vote if Bernie’s not elected? What would she say to my son and the millions of individuals who want to vote Republican but not for a misogynist, authoritarian clown? I know what she’d say. She’d say vote anyway—it’s a privilege.

And she’s right.

But this isn’t a political column, at least not today. It’s an ode to my grandma and her lost ring. Call me voodoo, but I believe possessions find a way of leaving their caretakers when they’re no longer needed or when they know the person is ready to move on. It’s no coincidence I lost the diamond on Easter Sunday. Among other things, Easter is a time of renewal. Of letting go. Of rebirth. The day before Easter, I’d returned from a writing workshop, full of possibilities and fresh perspective, ready to embrace a new project and complete another. On the home front, 2016 marks a pivotal turning point for my family. My oldest will move away, begin college, and launch her next adventure. In a hop, skip and a jump (as Grandma would say), the other two kids will be following her out the door as quickly as the eye blinks (Grandma liked her clichés).

Clearly, I’m in a phase of letting go and embracing new patterns and opportunities. It’s not easy. In fact, I struggle with change. But maybe that’s why I lost the ring, as a reminder that life is ever changing. Grieve and forge ahead. And just like that, even without the ring, Grandma’s spirit teaches on.

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Mom’s Wise Words

December 1, 2015

My mom turns 85 this month, although if you’d met her, you’d swear she was 55. This month’s blog is in her honor.

Mom loves lists. She has on-going lists for the grocery, her daily chores, her weekly and monthly activities. She makes lists of people she needs to call, to thank, and to write. She’s even made lists for all her books, her rock collection, and the kinds of flowers she’s planted. I love my mom and am sharing a list of her wisdom. She’s far too humble to list it herself, but these are five things I know she’d agree to; attributes that she represents.

  1. Love: simple and yet complicated—love yourself, love God, love your family, friends, and your enemies.
  2. Nap: rest well and take care of yourself. Naps also give you time to create.
  3. Appreciate Nature: all of the answers are there.
  4. Get a C: no one is perfect, we learn from our mistakes, and no one does well under constant pressure to get all A’s.
  5. Care: make a difference in the world. It can be as simple as making muffins for a neighbor, volunteering at an event, or writing Congress to demand better resolutions.

Thanks Mom! And Happy Holidays to all.

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Space to Write

November 1, 2015

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I found a new place to work this year, at least for one day a week. My oldest daughter is living at home while ski racing and working, which is great—until she stumbles in for breakfast during my morning writing session.

We’ve worked out some parameters. She stays out of the house two days a week while I hole up and write, and I leave two days a week: one spent at a coffee house and the other at an awesome office housed in a nursery. It’s a tropical paradise, filled with plants and dirt and sunlight.

On my first day, however, I had no idea where to begin. For writers; beginnings are difficult, daunting, and often avoided. I dug through my bag, found my pens, opened my computer, and then, I sat. I found a few better pens, moved papers to the floor, wrote a few notes, and then, I sat. I changed the music, checked my emails, glanced at my notes, pulled up a few files, and then again, I sat.

My frustration grew. I was paying for the space and knew that doing a load of laundry was a more efficient use of my time than sharpening pencils. I tried again. Finally, after three and a half hours, I revised a chapter—one lonely chapter (on a good day, I’ll revise six). I left, met my daughter and puppy for a brief walk, and raced back to the office, cramming in what I could. One more chapter done. Not a good first day at the office.

On subsequent visits, things got better. My twitchy brain finally welcomed the space, and I settled in.

Now, when I arrive, I breathe in the deep, oxygen-filled air that smells of geraniums and roses, give gratitude, and get to work. Without a doubt, it is now my most creative, productive-filled day of the week. For any writers out there pondering the idea of renting one’s own place—I highly recommend it—if even for one day a week.

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MFA or not?

April 13, 2015

Today I tried my best to study as a writer: I read a book about sentence construction, pulled out my highlighter, and did my best to discover the secrets of a sentence. Then, I fell asleep.

There are times when I lament the fact that I grew up in a world where MFA’s did not exist. If they did, I certainly was unaware, clueless about the world of fine arts. It wasn’t until after I’d worked in Boston, then founded my own business, and finally wrote my own companion piece that I realized people go to school to learn how to write. By that time, I had three kids under the age of five and going back to school was not an option. So, I read. I read and I read and I read. Then I went to a workshop and then another. I began to study blogs and authors’ websites. I went to more workshops. I began to edit and critique and finally, to teach.

The book on sentence structure wasn’t necessarily boring, but for me, I realized the best way to learn and improve my own writing was by reading other books within my genre. I studied books that I loved and even those I didn’t. I rewrote authors’ sentences, plagiarizing their rhythm, not to copy into my own work but to learn. And I did.

Not everyone needs an MFA. As the cliché goes—we all have our own path, a journey to follow. As a non-MFA graduate, I know that I’ll always be studying the craft of writing, forever a student. And, I’m okay with that. It’s a fabulous way to grow.

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Why do we Write?

July 2, 2014

Why do you write?

For me, I write because I can’t not write. I realize that’s a cheat of an answer, but it’s true.

I’ve been writing in some form or another my entire life. When I was little, I wrote down my dreams and did creative writing prompts at school. As I moved into my teens, I wrote sappy poetry. I was, of course, the only girl in the world who was having boyfriend troubles and who’s family was driving me crazy. It was fine poetry. In my early twenties I began to write stories but didn’t do much with them. Twenties were a bit of a blur. I wrote professionally in my thirties, and after my kids arrived, I began writing in earnest. My first book, Soul Sunday: a Family’s Guide to Finding Faith and Teaching Tolerance, won seven national awards, and I continued to write articles and essays. However, once I found my voice in fiction, I’d come home. Now, it’s what I do.

In addition to writing professionally, I write for myself. My journal is a kind of therapy. There have been times that I couldn’t write—my brain too deep in a void to find words. Other times were too busy for journal writing. But both of these reasons are excuses. We should never be too busy to take care of ourselves, if we use writing to help clear our heads. The void can be filled with words. Writers should never be too busy to write, even if it’s only a few minutes to capture fleeting thoughts.

I finally know why I write, and so I do. Everyday.

Ask yourself why you write and then ask yourself why you stop. Write anyway.

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Why do We Write?

July 2, 2013

Why do you write?

For me, I write because I can’t not write. I realize that’s a cheat of an answer, but it’s true. I’ve been writing in some form or another my entire life.

When I was little, I wrote down my dreams and did creative writing prompts at school. As I moved into my teens, I wrote sappy poetry. I was, of course, the only girl in the world who was having boyfriend troubles and who’s family was driving me crazy. It was fine poetry. In my early twenties I began to write stories but didn’t do much with them. Twenties were a bit of a blur. I wrote professionally in my thirties, and after my kids arrived, I began writing in earnest. My first book, Soul Sunday: a Family’s Guide to Finding Faith and Teaching Tolerance, won seven national awards, and I continued to write articles and essays. However, once I found my voice in fiction, I’d come home. Now, it’s what I do.

In addition to writing professionally, I write for myself. My journal is a kind of therapy. There have been times that I couldn’t write—my brain too deep in a void to find words. Other times were too busy for journal writing.

But both of these reasons are excuses.

We should never be too busy to take care of ourselves, if we use writing to help clear our heads. The void can be filled with words. Writers should never be too busy to write, even if it’s only a few minutes to capture fleeting thoughts. I finally know why I write, and so I do. Everyday.

Ask yourself why you write and then ask yourself why you stop.

Write anyway.