Saturday, June 18, 2016

Heart and Soul of Story: Grateful

Hi, folks. I'm continuing my Heart and Soul series.  I'm so busy right now that this will be a short post. I find being grateful helps me tap into the depth of stories. It's especially helpful to be grateful when I am not feeling it. Sometime I forget to grateful and my friends help. I'm deeply grateful for those who give me perspective. Recognizing that failure contributes to my success is one of the best things of all to be grateful for.

Is it taking you a long time to complete your novel, art, etc?  Writing a story is not a race.  Be grateful for the time it is taking you. So be grateful for the gift of creating art.  Be grateful for mistakes. Be grateful for the long and winding road to a complete work. Be grateful that you can share your story even if your work will touch one heart and that heart is yours. One heart can be a very big deal.

Gratefulness in you will infuse your story with strength and power.  You will take the risks your need to. You will dig into things that you must. Gratefulness will give you the fortitude to complete your journey.  I hope that you are grateful this week and let those good thoughts guide you on your way.
I will be back next week with more of this story.

Here is a doodle.

A quote for your pocket.

I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite - only a sense of existence. Well, anything for variety. I am ready to try this for the next ten thousand years...Emerson

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Heart and Soul of Story: Survival

Hi, folks,

Finding the heart and soul of your story is no easy journey. Last week, I tossed the Monomyth your way. An ancient path is truly a wonderful way into your story. Learning about the theory behind story will help you understand what you are trying to do.

This week I've been crazy busy. The day job, B-fest, TEENS PublishQueryKombat, the demise of my fridge, and now apparently, my stomach is not a happy camper, so this week is about survival and the heart and soul of story.

One reason we love books is what they make us feel. Every book has an emotional journey. An this is an important part of your story. I'm not talking about the emotional journey of your characters, but of your readers. I'm going to get science-y here. Emotion is a survival mechanism to meet survival needs. Good writing is going to throttle readers in a useful way. Lots of my writer friends have made me feel uncomfortable (Ha,ha, if you are a writer, I just think you are my friend.) They write about stuff that is foreign to my experience, but their books make me more.

Here is some serious stuff. Children's fiction is out there to help youth survive.

Children's authors know if the right book is not put in the right hands, well, that child might not survive the degradation, confusion, and hate that is trying to rip him or her apart. Noble stuff. Yes, I love you, my peeps, I love that you are trying evoke the necessary emotions to make this life a more accepting and tolerant journey.

Play the heartstrings. Let those kids know that they are not alone. Rock the boat, shake the ground, or shift the paradigm.  Don't stop.  I will be next week with more heart and soul of story.

Here is a doodle.

Here is a quote for your pocket.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty. John F. Kennedy

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Heart and Soul of Story: Monomyth

Hi, folks, this summer I am coaching TEENS Publish at Ringer Library in College Station, Texas. And in conjunction with that class, I'm going to write about the heart and soul of story over here at the blog. This week I will focus on my understanding of the monomyth, which is part of depths of story.

The monomyth also know as the hero's journey is all about a hero who goes on an adventure, and in an-end-all-the-battle crisis defeats a malevolent power. The hero returns home but as a new person, forever changed by the journey, Old things have passed away for the hero and all things have become new.

Why is mankind chasing down this hero? Why do we focus so much of ourselves on the this journey in books, films, TV shows, campfires--wherever stories are told? Life is tough and full of vast contradictions. Every generation wants to make its mark, and it also wants to make sense of their world in way no previous generation has. But a few see a troubling a pattern.

A few folks have noticed that mankind tends to make the same mistakes over and over. There is a heart's cry in these few for the madness to stop. Hence the obsession with the hero's journey. Perhaps following  the ancient path of story will make us recognize our present state and try to be more. Perhaps a story will offer each person what he or she needs to change the direction of a 1000 generations of their family for better. 

The choices we make are important. Learn of the choices that lead us all to higher more spiritual plane. This is work of the monomyth. This is what I understand so far on my journey. I will be back next week with more Heart and Soul.

I am glad you came by!  Thanks!  

Here is a doodle for you: Pug.  

I hope you place this excellent quote in your back pocket.

“Not all who hesitate are lost. The psyche has many secrets in reserve. And these are not disclosed unless required.”
― Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Bloom: You Were Born to Bloom

Hi, folks! Today is my twenty-eighth wedding anniversary with the sweetest man ever, Tim Blaisdell. He is also a blogger and writes over at THE MUSINGS OF A MEANDERING MIND.  I also am in a entrant in QUERY KOMBAT. Queries are selected by judges and they go head to head in a VOICE-esque contest. Only one query moves to next level. I'm Southern Gothic Secrets and my critique partner Ellen is Mochi Monster!

What do we win? Twenty-eight agents and editors will be looking at the queries with the possibility of landing an agent or even a contract. Did you notice 28 and 28? Feels very portent-y to me!

This week I'm writing about a deep truth. We are all born to bloom. A dear friend facing who suffers from a cancer syndrome hugged me and whispered, "I want to bloom but I feel like I'm falling apart."

I hugged her back because I know what it is like to be broken on a genetic level. Some things don't need words. What we can do is focus on the splendor of now.  Blooming does not come from us but creator of all things.

I grew up with a plant-loving mom, and she surrounded my life with flowers. So this week, I'm going to share about unusual blooms that I have seen in my life. I love flowers and I pay attention. I hope you will take lessons from these blooms and realize that you are stronger than you know.

A half-of a daffodil  bloomed in my mother's yard once. It was the most beautiful thing. A genetic anomaly but more beautiful because of it was unique.

One time there was a sad rhody in my yard that was covered with some kind of leaf disease. I had to hack away more than half of the plant. The next year the rhody bloomed with almost a hundred gorgeous blood-red blooms that took my breath away. It had never bloomed before.

Once my mom stopped the car beside the road and made me get out and look at this field of spiky plants with these gorgeous white blooms on tall spears. She told me to soak it in because these were century plants and this might not happen again in my lifetime.

I planted a cemetery rose in my backyard from a cutting that was about two inches long.  This year rose is the size of a small car and it has had hundreds of blooms.

So this week, I was blessed by this: my daylilies bloomed during the 8 inches of rain that fell on my house this week in 24 hours. The splash of color on such a dreary day uplifted my heart. Bloom during the flood!

Maybe one of these blooms speaks to you. Just like you were born to share, to be merciful, to smile, and to love, you were born to bloom. Seize every day.

I will be back next week with a new series about the Monomyth. I hope you will join me.

Here is a doodle:

Here is a quote for your pocket:

Why should I be unhappy? Every parcel of my being is in full bloom. Rumi

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Bloom: Bloom Where You Are Planted

Hi, folks! I'm continuing my Bloom series for the month of May.  There is nothing more heartening to me than a flower blooming in the crack in the sidewalk, the crevice of a mountain, or on a cliff face by the sea. Another surprise is a bloom in the desert place. There is no circumstance than can hold back a bloom. You must bloom where you are planted. This is your purpose. Life finds a way.

"Bloom where you are planted" is a quote attributed to St. Francis De Sales, the patron saint of writers. This is a little quote I whisper to myself often. It is a story of tenacity and one I am close to. Flowers that bloom in impossible places are the heart of tenacity. They put down roots in rocks. They cling to life when there is little chance of life. They bloom even if that bloom is stunted and its flower is deformed. Writers have a similar tenacity to bloom. I am no exception.

How does a writer bloom where they are planted? You may live on the backside of nowhere, i.e. suburbia.  You may work a mind numbing job that is mocked on national TV.  You may be over the age of 50. You may have family members with complex health issues and you care for them. You may suffer from depression during this same time.You may have received more writing rejections at this point than you considered was humanly possible. At the end of the day, it's tough to stay alive in a place like this this, much less bloom.

So how do you do it? How do you bloom?  Here some of the answers: live in this moment. Don't think about the road that brought you here. Don't think of the road that will take you on. Be here and now and exist. Place your baggage down and move on. Don't refuse to forgive yourself and others. Move on with your life. Stop the foolishness. It is time to let all that stuff go. Focus of all the good you know, have known and hope to know. Believe that you will  rise above the waves that wish to beat you down. Work when you are too tired. Be positive even if the waves crash over you.  Be positive if you are washed out to sea and must swim back to shore. Believe that your gifts will make a place for you. Never stop trying. Do these things and you find yourself blooming in some odd places and at some odd times.

Life is tenacious. Whatever you facing, don't let it choke you. Bloom.

I'm glad you dropped by!  Come back next week for the end of the Bloom series.

Here is a doodle for you. Cemetery Roses.

Here is a quote for your pocket:

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.
St Francis De Sales