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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Meeting with Sisters In Crime

Last Saturday I gave a presentation to the Indiana chapter of Sisters in Crime. I talked about what I do: write articles for online clients. My aim was to show them how much content there is online, thus demonstrate the infinite number of possibilities to be paid for writing. The second part of my agenda was to show them how although writing articles may seem irrelevant to their passion, writing crime and mystery stories, these are many intangible rewards that all lead to improved research and writing skills and increased creative and critical thinking skills. Their reception and responses told me that what I offered them was both interesting and meaningful.

To my delightful surprise, however, the experience was more interesting and meaningful to me than I could have ever imagined!

I have mentioned here before how writing is such an isolated and lonely experience. Well, being around so many professionally accomplished writers was just the surge of colleague interaction I have been needing. I sat in on their business meeting before giving my talk and was excited by the energy in the room! Collaboration, efficiency, friendly candor, the exchange of information and the sharing of resources all inspired me with hope and renewed enthusiasm for my own work and unreached dreams.

They had a lot to cover in that business meeting because next month, they will host a launch party for their new anthology: Mayhem at the Brickyard, coming out to coincide with the Indianapolis 500. Because it is an Indianapolis-based group, they’ve written mysteries that center on the racing theme. This is their second anthology. The first, released one year ago, is titled Racing Can Be Murder. Both books can be purchased online at Amazon and ordered through Barnes and Noble and Borders book stores. Both books are published by Blue River Press and distributed by Cardinal Publishers Group.

As some of us shared lunch together after my presentation, I learned more about their group and in particular, about those who sat around the big round table. A microbiologist, a lawyer, a teacher in the state prison, a forensic artist, a psychologist, a retired physicist /publisher, and a psychic all talked about recent projects, each interjecting pieces of their own areas of expertise as “what if” prompts to fuel the conversation. It was a feast for the imagination!

And I came away more resolved than ever to pursue the company of fascinating people.

My conclusion is this: every day week the extraordinary in all that you encounter because it is there!


Sisters in Crime Inc.

Friday, April 23, 2010

New Writing Venue

Our writing group now has a new meeting venue. We met for the first time last night at Art and Soul, Muncie’s newest art gallery. Surrounded by the beauty, energy, and even haunting power of the paintings on display, we were in an environment rich with creative spirit and profound inspiration.

We were compelled to write about the artwork around us. In the process of writing, each of us experienced that mysterious, magical, and majestic thing that happens when hands and paper and pens are propelled by a force beyond our own selves and produces surprises that no one could have predicted.

The hairs on my arms stand up when I tell you that all muses were present!

I was exhausted by the time I got home. Mentally I was spent from a day of hard work, and physically I ached from too much sitting all day. But my spirit was dancing like the whole chorus line in an exuberant finale as creativity bubbled to the surface of my consciousness. Ideas were coming out of the tightly twisted mass of my brain and they were good – all of them! The muses wouldn’t let me sleep – I was high and in love.

Oh, to be submerged in the warm, gooey, organic ecstasy of human creativity and divine inspiration is what this life is all about! I am so fortunate to be right here, right now, and to share this time and space with these people!

It is well; it is well with my soul!

Art and Soul

Note: Photo provided by "Downtown Muncie"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

punctuation matters

I was driving down the road yesterday when I passed a church and noticed the sign outside:

spring gods greeting cards.

Cool! I thought to myself. I wonder if the cards are hand-made? I started to visualize beautiful artsy greeting cards, each a one-of-a-kind treasure. Hand-made paper perhaps? Dried and pressed flowers? Colored pencil drawings… maybe swatches of cotton fabric glued to the front…

Then I started wondering about the spring gods. Who are they anyway? Venus the sun god? Maybe there is a god of sweet aromas or a god of colors. These spring gods pricked my curiosity as I have never heard of spring gods before. (And believe me, I’ve heard of most of the gods around here.) I picked up speed as my enthusiasm grew – I’ve got to see those spring gods greeting cards!

I was several miles down the road before reality hit me. I could see my teenagers roll their eyes and hear their exclamation “DUH!” that tells me they can’t believe how na├»ve I can be. Wait a minute, I said to myself… that was a conservative Christian church back there, they would never use new-age verbiage referring to “gods”. No! they meant the ONE and ONLY, all Omnipotent, GOD Almighty!

OK. So I had to rethink it and interpret that sign for its intended message. They meant GOD: their God.

So the subject must be SPRING. Yes, and because spring is full of a multitude of blessings, the word “cards” was plural. I’m getting it!

The sign meant that Spring is God’s way of sending us all kinds of really cool greeting cards! Yes!

I’m not always so literal, but that one took considerable time and mental energy on my part to get the message. If only they had used punctuation.

A couple of capitol letters

A colon

An apostrophe

An exclamation mark

Spring: God’s greeting cards!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Percussion Factory

Thank you, Norma, for sharing this with me. I had to pass it on to others here on the Nitty Gritty of Writing blog because it is truly amazing.

A beautiful display of human creativity! Now this is exhilarating! I love it! It sure is a long way from the water-filled bottles we used to play…


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Long Absence

One of the fantasies I’ve always had about a writer’s life is the freedom of time and place. I always thought I could write from anywhere in the world; and with the internet, that fantasy is more reality now than ever before. Technically, it’s true. But during my recent absence, I discovered some of the pitfalls that make this fantasy very difficult to turn into reality.

In the middle of March, I went to Florida with my niece, Kendal, and her two children: Savannah, 7; and Isaac, 5. Kendal took her laptop and air card so we could access the internet from wherever we were. I took my thumb drive with all my current work on it. Good planning; we were all set!

I did most of the driving so Kendal could tend to the endless needs and demands of the children. That’s fine - I wouldn’t have been able to work in the car anyway.

We spent the first five days in Orlando so we could visit the different Disney parks with a day in between at the hotel. By the way, we stayed at the Nickelodian Hotel, a kid kingdom with enough events, activities, and parks of their own to entertain our every waking moment. Between Kendal getting sick, Isaac getting sick, Savannah fighting it off, my work bag getting drenched in a sudden downpour and the constant squeals and screams from all the events at the hotel, I had a hard time working…

I couldn’t find a quiet place to sit. Then, when I finally found a tree on the outskirts of the Nickelodian property, I didn’t have what I needed – first my thumb drive was left in the car; then my research articles were in the swim bag with Kendal and the kids at the pool… It was this way all the time. I couldn’t get settled. I was out of sorts, out of my comfort zone, out of my element.

The next week we were at Grandma Clock’s house in Bonita Springs. Much better. There is a park nearby where I could set up my workspace at a picnic table, fairly free of interruptions. There is also a library nearby where I could print when I needed to. So I managed to meet all my paying customers’ deadlines, but nothing more. No personal writing, and not blogging.

I am easy-going and flexible. If anyone can write on the road, surly it would be me. Yet I found that I was constantly unsettled, always on guard, consistently missing something important: my glasses one time, no pen or pencil another, a dead batter in the computer, a dead zone with no internet access, the library isn’t open on Wednesdays, and the list goes on and on…

I clumsily struggled to make the fantasy work. I can’t say it was a disaster because I did manage to get all the required work done and on time. It was not relaxing however, and it certainly did not fit my vision of happily and productively working on vacation. And when I got home two and a half weeks later, I have been discouraged to discover that it has taken me a week more to get resettled and back to my regular routines!

I am not giving up though. I am a die-hard believer in dreams. I still believe that I can write from anywhere in the world and I have every intention of giving it a try again soon. The test will be whether or not I can keep up with regular blogging posts because there is no paying client at the other end forcing blog posts to the top of the priority list.

Anyway, after a long absence, I am back now. My office is back in order and freshly cleaned and reorganized. The laundry is done, dependents cared for, and my skin reflects that golden glow that tells the world I am renewed.

Blogging resumes.