Returning to them.

So I tried to save the world.

But it was grasping and hand aching to tug and pull so much.

Defeated I put the world away on the high shelf.

Then I tried to clear my mind,

But I couldn’t get the memories to come unstuck no matter how hard I tried.

I lay face up in the bed, not praying.

My guilt and shame at leaving them bore a hole right through me.

“I can’t promise you anything,”  I told them.

Their returned silence meant they didn’t want to hear my excuses.

This morning I picked them up and slowly read about their lives.

Let’s see, Annie was stuck in the cave and the water was rushing in….

Seth and Luke were locked in a fierce battle with trust….

And Paul…

I had left Paul, still heartbroken and crying, beside the cold sea. 

writing-923882_960_720

Advertisements

A Shameless Plug for Pinterest

I’m not much of a social media fan.

I do have an account on Facebook, but I don’t post much and I rarely read others.

Twitter and Snapchat, I just don’t get those two at all and  you can throw Instagram in that group also.

But, oh, how I love, love, love Pinterest!!

My parents loved to go to old bookstores and they would let me get  stacks and stacks of old magazines.  Once I got a huge, whole cardboard box for one dollar! When I got home  I would make these books using magazines, construction paper and glue…the old kind of glue that was really messy.  I spent hours sitting on the floor of my room, cutting out pictures and glueing them to paper while using newspaper to sop up the glue. Then I would put on one of my favorite albums, yes, those were the days of vinyl and just let the stories wash over me.

Oh, what wonderful times!

I thought the heady feelings of discovery and imagination were gone….until…..

PINTEREST!

Take the photos above….

  1. A girl -love the hair and the candle!  Where is she planning on going that she has to use that taper? Hmmmmm
  2. A boy– is he a hero or a villain?  My choice!
  3. “Don’t go into the woods”– of course, we are going! We probably wouldn’t have if you hadn’t posted the silly sign, but now it’s a given.
  4. A creepy door knocker“Hello?  Is anyone there?”  Cue creepy laughter or a shadow out of the corner of your eye.
  5. A stream slowly meandering in the woods– where does it originate, where does it end?  Is it a dividing line?
  6. Witch humor-I never thought of witch’s being funny, but what if they were?

Six images – boom!  Story! 

If you haven’t used this tool for your own writing or creating, whatever it may be, you should really try it out.

The best part about Pinterest is knowing how many people out there are just like me.

Bookmakers, storytellers, imaginers.

Lord, how I love the imaginers. 

Tulsa’s 1st Writing Well Creative Writing Workshop – striving to “make the impossible possible.”

Yesterday I attended the first ever Writing Well Creative Writing Workshop

shakespear

Writing Well Creative Writing Workshop 2016

presented by Michele Chiappetta and Rob Harmon.

For the fullness of disclosure, Michele is a member of Purple Ink and Rob is a friend through my critique group.  That being said, I appreciate the bias you may be reading into this blog, however, I entreat you to believe me when I say we all have enough mutual respect for each other to discuss openly our opinions. 

The location of the workshop was Oxley Nature Center located in Mohawk Park. With panoramic views multicolored autumn leaves and the conference room sitting on a glistening pond, the atmosphere when arriving combined both peace and possibility.

While the attendees were small in number, Writing Well had some outstanding speakers on the guest list. Authors William Noble and Gordon Grice skyped in, while Raymond Shinault , Shasha Martin and Eilis O’Neal were able to attend in person.

The workshop was the result of Michele and Rob striving to fill a void in Tulsa.  As Michele said in her opening remarks, “A community of writers connecting with other writers did not exist in Tulsa, so I decided to change that.”  Just so you know, I’m paraphrasing- but you get the gist. 

To their credit, that sense of community was delivered and delivered brilliantly.

From the t- shirt to the lunch to the workshops to the topics, Writing Well was an professional and excellent event.  And I want more!!!

Just being around others who are interested in your craft is empowering and encouraging, but the exchange of ideas I was able to participate in went well beyond my expectations.

Engaging in a discussion with Murder of Storytellers members, Adrian Messmer and Jack Burgos, I found out they have been frustrated by the apparent lack of diverse writers in Tulsa.  To combat this void they have formed a non-profit organization which will provide encouragement and instruction to school students encouraging them to write and thereby broaden their own outlook on the world.  This is yet another outstanding example of working on positive change for Tulsa.

A friend of mine who I will call, S, attended the workshop at my encouragement.  A woman  whose project involves writing about personal experiences, she has chosen a far more challenging topic than most fledgling writers and I am happy to report she has accepted my invitation to attend an upcoming critique group!  I am so, so excited to share in her journey!

The one complaint I had with the workshop(and it is more of quibble) was having the panels on top of each other.  Choosing was difficult and while I understand this set up was due to time constraints I hope future Writing Well Workshops will go longer, allowing me to attend more and more panels. I had to miss my other Purple Ink mon ami, Donna Leahey!

During one of the discussions Rob enlightened me to the double meaning of Well in Writing Well.  Again I paraphrase, “A well is deep, so we strive to encourage you to go deep into your writing to produce the best work you can.”  As uplifted and renewed as I feel after this experience, I can assure you, I will take this to heart and give my writing the attention it deserves.

Unfortunately, I had to leave early to go to work.  Walking down the steps to the parking lot I was disappointed I did not have time to attend the keynote address by O’Neal and, also due to time constraints, had not participated in the writing exercise facilitated by Shasha Martin, both would have been wonderful.  But as I was lost in these disappointed thoughts I was startled to hear an unknown male voice telling me goodbye. A tall man wearing glasses who was also attending the workshop was coming into the center.  I am embarrassed to admit I did not read his name tag, so I am unable to identify him appropriately.  Anyway he shook my hand and said he was disappointed we had not gotten a chance to speak as he was excited to meet new writers also.  Then he said he would see me next time.

So there needs to be a next time, Rob and Michele!  

I was so impressed by the workshop and I fully expect it to grow and grow into a regular Tulsa event.

Thank you to all the wonderful writers who attended and participated.  I learned from all of you!

 

The important off-screen character (or why I’ll never be a true plotter)

By Donna A. Leahey

Many years ago, I was involved in the production of the play Morning’s at Seven (that’s the name, I didn’t accidentally put in an incorrect apostrophe!). The play is about the lives of four sisters in a small town. The director of the play made the comment that the most important, influential character of the entire cast never made an appearance – the sisters’ father. His influence permeates everything that happens.

I’ve never forgotten that comment. It was so insightful that I always have in mind that idea of the character who never appears in the story but profoundly impacts it.

I’m working on a novel about three sisters. Their father died before the third was born, and I’ve tried to use that idea, to make their father an important character even though he never appears “on stage.” I’ve never quite made it work.

However, while working on some backstory, I discovered the character who actually is the most important, most influential character who never appears – The sister’s grandmother. Originally, I just needed to answer the question of why the sisters didn’t seem to know about this seriously very important prophesy. So, I decided that they didn’t know because their mother didn’t know. And the reason their mother didn’t know was because her mother never taught her about it. And that lead to the idea that she’d had a falling out with the family. And that led to the question of why? Which then brought me back to Ireland’s history of religious conflict, and an illicit romance between a protestant boy and the very catholic girl who would become the grandmother of my three sisters. So, she fell out with her Irish family and moved to America where she married her protestant boy and raised her daughter without the legends and stories of the family. Because of that, the mother never knew about a very important prophecy, which she inadvertently fulfilled and set my whole story in motion. Without the actions of the grandmother, it would never have happened.

As to what this has to do with me not being a plotter? The joy I felt when I realized that. It’s a special moment, when you suddenly figure out something about your story. When you make that connection, that creative leap. When your characters suddenly turn left and drag your plot in a whole new direction.

The more I write, the more of a planner I become, but those moments of pure joy will stop me from ever plotting the spontaneity out of my writing.

OK, O.K., Ok, Okay!

ok11

By Donna A. Leahey

“OK” is one of my verbal tics. I use it constantly. In speaking, in writing… I pepper “OK” over everything I say.
A state of being, “I’m OK.”
Generic beginning of a sentence, “Ok, guys, let’s get started.”
Just a noise I’m making while I’m trying to think, “What’s going here, hold on, OK OK OK OK…”
An angry exclamation, “OK, enough!”
Soothing, “It’ll all be OK.”
Mark of approval, “Yeah, that’s OK.”

I could go on, but I think we’re all OK with what I mean.

It’s an interesting little word or abbreviation. We’re not entirely sure where it even came from. If you go look it up, you’ll find two main stories. The first is that around 1840 there was a trend toward deliberate misspelling and that OK is an abbreviation for “oll korrect.” The second is that Martin van Buren, then running for president against Alexander Hamilton, was known by a number of nicknames, including “Old Kinderhook.” His followers formed The O.K. club. According to a Mental Floss article, “OK” became “the “misunderestimated,” “refudiated,” and “binders full of women” of its day.” Mental floss goes on to suggest that when the telegraph was invented, OK became adopted as a quick and easy way to confirm receipt of a message. That cemented its place in our language.

I’m not here today, however, to talk about the origins of OK. I’m hear to talk about the right way to write it. You may have already noticed I have my favorite: OK. However, some people prefer O.K., others go with Ok, and some bizarrely insist on okay. As far as I’m concerned, the only time okay is correct is when you’re talking about the small town of Okay, Oklahoma.

Why am I so anti-okay? Well, whichever origin of OK you prefer, it was never a word. Whether it’s “oll korrect” or “Old Kinderhook,” it’s an abbreviation. OK is not short for okay.

I’m no expert, though. What do the people who know what they’re talking about say? According to Daily Writing Tips, The Oxford English Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, and The Australian Concise Oxford all show OK as the preferred spelling, though they do list okay as an alternative. The Chicago Manual of Style doesn’t directly address it, but does use OK in several examples. And finally, my AP Manual of Style prefers OK and says in abundantly clear terms, “Do not use okay.” I neither confirm nor deny that I chose the AP as my preferred stylebook for this exact entry.

A new critique partner has recently been correcting (korrecting?) all my uses of OK to okay. I haven’t had the heart to tell that person that I will never make that change. What I will do is remove a lot of the OK’s entirely. Boy, do I use it too much!

Day 7 – The Letter!!!

The thing I found most interesting about this challenge is the idea that anyone could find a letter they wrote to themselves six months previously!

Good Gravy! It’s a daily struggle to find my keys!

Well, here we go–

Dear Meg,

Hello! I hope this letter finds you (me?) well.

(Then I sat for awhile staring at the screen…)

If this letter has actually been found it must mean you are getting better organized than you were six months ago, so good for you (me?)!

And I also hope you have kept up the good work you (I?) was doing at that time.

(I have decided to use the Elizabethan “WE” to keep my head from exploding.)

We were rocking it six months ago. Yes, indeed! All systems were a go and we had a green light for launch. Work, kids, family all of it was going swimmingly, so therefore our writing was benefiting.

Maybe in that time you have figured out how to equate your writing more as a job than as a reward. We should take Donna’s approach and write every day, but we don’t and we should.

We have ideas all the time, but we don’t sit down long enough to get them written down. These ideas are a gift from some unknown muse and we are squandering them. Not a good idea!

The world is not going to wait on us, so why should we wait on the world. People seem to like your writing, but it needs polish and we always have an excuse to avoid sitting down, rolling up our sleeves and getting after it. We want to move from writer to “published author” don’t we?

We hope in the six months since we wrote this we achieved a little bit more focus, determination and resilience.

Writing is art and joy and love and all those wonderful things, but it’s also a craft.

It can take years in our workshop of words to mold our sentences and shape our ideas into things of beauty. It takes effort and toil and many, many failures before the raw material of our imaginations are made glorious works of art.

We hope the workroom of our mind is not covered in dust, but messy with a lively, well used air about it.

Love,
Meg

Writing Challenge -Poem. Taking the gloves off.

It has been a good while since I wrote a poem, but I do like to write them.

I like to write them because they are difficult to write! All you poets out there and I know a few of you read this blog, just wanted to say, hat’s off to you because I know how tough it is.

My father taught English for years and he always loved poetry. He used to say to me, “Poetry isn’t just about using words, it’s about using the right words.” Now maybe he was quoting someone else, but I’m giving him credit for that one.

When I thought about this I actually had a lot of topics to choose from…so I’m taking the gloves off, wrestling with my intellect and language skills – and facing down this challenge!!!

Ode to a Magic Eraser

Once upon a time I read a book about witchcraft.
Not a dusty, tome hidden away in an attic,
But candy colored, glossy, crisp pages.
Images of crooked noses replaced by smiling cheerful pagans on the back cover.

Furtively I read standing, half crouching inside a forest of shelves.

“The best way to rid evil sprits is to clean your house from top to bottom.”

Clean! How disappointing! How utterly mundane!

Days pass and the name of the book and where I hid to read it, fade.

I’m older now.
Worn down, but sturdy.

The Magic Eraser and I embark on the purge once again.

This is how the evil is destroyed.

All of it sanded off the walls and door frames.

Handprints on walls vanish away, taking with them angry, childish words.
Smudges on floors disappear and their leaving rids me of memories of slamming doors and yelling.
It takes some doing, but the stains on the stove are bested also, which brings me such peace.
No more will I have to face the evidence of the betrayal announced over spaghetti again.

The name of this product could not be more perfect.

Okay, there it is!

18 lines instead of 20–but it needed to end there.

That’s the funny thing about poetry to me–it seems to control me much more than I control it!