Friday, December 3, 2010

Inspired Writing Group, assignment, One Shot Writing

We call ourselves the Inspired Writers Group. We meet every two weeks, talk about writing and more importantly we write. We share our projects and we read our weekly assignment. Usually we are given a word to fit into a two page piece. This week we have done something a little different. Our assignment: to write a short piece and NOT EDIT.
One shot writing.

I am the multible draft, re-write, edit queen. To write and not edit, (gulp), but I did it. The following is my spell checks, no read-through until the end...what you see is what I wrote, one shot only. Do I hang my head, red faced because of, actually I like it...hope you do to.

My Writing Place

It’s my kitchen table…the end facing double ovens and stove top. I face the island piled with junk mail and macs, (bruised), Clementine’s, (soft). They speak of moments in the produce department with a promise to eat healthy. I end up in the bakery isle…breads and cakes do not go fuzzy in my house.
When I write I stare at cherry cabinets and when the words do not come I think of how lucky I am to have such a nice place to write, and eat, and gather with my family.
My kitchen becomes a meadow in Wyoming, (my novel), the hospice room where my mother died, (my memoir), where I work, (my book of essays), a back alley in Florida, (my book of short stories), and a shelf stacking a dictionary of ideas so numerous, it’s a library of writing dreams.
This is my writing place. During the day the TV is blaring in the other room most of the time when someone else is home and even when someone is not. At night it is a quiet place of dissolving into another world of someone else. With heavy eyelids I write well, with a heavy heart I write my best, with joy I am not writing I am living and from that I sit at my kitchen table, stare at the ovens and remember, and type, and put down how life has made me lucky.
The kitchen…my place to write…is the center of my house, my family, me heart and life’s word count. Double spaced, one inch margins I wonder how many words, how many pages I will get to print of my life before my body runs out of ink and the pages go blank.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Warm Thanksgiving

Ms trite says:
Thanksgiving is like the fourth of July being thankful for the harvest, instead of freedom. They both taste good, except it's warmer on the fourth...outside anyway. No doors or open windows can dispel the warmth around our table on Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Page 1

Life is like writing a book.

Sometimes, when the words don't come and the dream is distant, we have to look at the stack of printed pages and trust that somewhere in there is the masterpiece called 'me'. Just search...start at page 1.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ms Trite says:

From the quietest of people the loudest words are spoken.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Enough Already

It is the day after the elections and I am feeling relief that all the ads and BS are over, until the politicians are sworn in anyway. What must it be like to put yourself out there, take the slings and swords, and go on with your life...oh writers we do that every day.
For those of us who write essays the souls we bare are our own and sometimes the people who love us must suffer our made-public opinions as well. My family is hardened and proud when it comes to my big mouth, as translated through my keyboard.

I have a writing expert I refer to once in awhile, her name is Ms Trite. Her first name is Cliche, she must be French, and though her utterances have been heard many times, and in many ways, I respect that she is able to boil out the bullshit and refine it to a sauce most interesting. Spicy or sweet, her tastes are varied but her ingredients simple...use as few(words)as possible and leave a pleasant aftertaste.

About the elections of yesterday:
All politians should be sent to Washington with one thing, a roll of duct tape and not because it fixes everything. Directions: place ear to ear over mouth.

I am expanding a short story for my writing group. It's about a father's secret holding a family hostage to their land, 1000 protected acres.

Secrets of women protect emotions, secrets of men protect honor.

Ms Trite didn't come up with that one I did.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I have a dilemma. Three projects all different. Like family members, I love them sometimes and choose to ignore them sometimes, especially when I have had enough.

The children: my previously published essays.
Head Slaps, Light Bulbs and Speed Bumps, the WTF, ah ha and oops moments of one women’s life. It is a collection of twenty-five years of essays, why I wrote them and the fallout. (Plus a few new ones).

The extended family:
Spaghetti Every Day, a collection of thirty short stories about women, some nice, some not so nice. From the despair of a son going to war, to a mother murdering hers they are about many things including birth, death, intoxication, and a secret which lives in the woods for generations. Each story, with the exception of one serves spaghetti as a main meal, a leftover or as in the case of two girls on spring break…well…lets just say it reappears after too many margaritas. No recipes.

My Parents:
In Their Words, is a memoir written by my mother, after her death regarding one hundred and twenty-five love letters I found buried at the bottom of her cedar chest two days after she died. The letters were written by my parents to each other while separated by WWII. Martha MacCallum of Fox news interviewed me about the letters on air which doesn't really mean much except that I have used up 60 seconds of my 15 minutes of fame.

My mother's memoir...the words are hers, the writing is mine. Does that make it simply a novel or the dreaded conundrum…the frey-tening beast which, believed by many agents to not actually exist…the fictional memoir?
If I am incorrect in expressing my mother’s assertions then as she always said, ‘shit in your hat and pull it down over your ears’.

I skip from project to project as my mood and best sense of writing guides me. Like I said I love them all but as I write this I am ignoring them, insolent as they are right now.

I am noticing I have not listed my novel, To Walk Among Strangers as a family member but it is, sort of, like a lost lover who had taken up far to much of my attention. It needs to stew. It needs to rest, I need to rest away from it. Until I trust again the effort I put into that book and believe again it is everything I hoped it would be, it sleeps. If it was all a waste of time then, I will shit in my hat and pull it down over my ears.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Got a call last night, late from my editor. He's really not MY editor but I like to call him that, makes me feel all writery. He is running my piece Saturday morning in The Hartford Courant.
It's nice to be published again, never gets old. To have someone in the business recognize my efforts is great and it's nice making a little, very little jingle.

He had to edit for space, not a problem, and he added and changed a few things. It really is a better piece. Everytime they blue pen it I feel like, why the hell didn't I think of that and geez I feel dumb. Editors are really smart people, good with the delete key and terrific with the insert, at least he is.

Well I'm into writing essays again. It feels good to be back to the world of reality and out of the one of make-believe, for a while anyway.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Harley's Story, The Boy in the Picture

The picture of the sleeping dog, it was taken by my daughter one afternoon; she did not have it in her heart to shoo him off the couch.

This is Harley's story.

To tell about Harley I must first tell about Brandy.
Brandy was a fine old girl, quirky, brave, and a love. She was part golden, part yellow lab, part angel, the perfect dog to grow up with our girls. After she died we swore we would not get another dog for a long, long, long, time. Two months later a friend of my husband told us about a young boy, with four legs and a biker’s name looking for a home. He showed us a picture, I said, no way, he looks too much like Brandy, under no circumstances was that male coming to our house. And then he told us about Harley a beautiful little pup growing up in Virginia.

A woman, I don’t know who she was, was standing on the shore of a river in Virginia. This woman watched as two little boys played with a energetic fluffy little ball of yellow fur. The boys took the puppy into the river. The woman, perhaps at first, thought they were going to play in the shallows with the puppy. But further out they went until finally where the water was deep enough the boys plunged him under, and held him there. He struggled to get away, they held him down. The woman, a brave angel, rushed into the river and grabbed the drowning dog from the boys. He was rag doll limp but still alive. She dried him off, held him tight and took him home. Home was nine hours north.

The woman lived in a condo, no pets allowed. The puppy was given to a wonderful young couple one town over from ours. They lived with family, the wife was pregnant, the puppy, now Harley and eighty-five pounds was more than the young family living with in-laws could handle. During the day he was kept in the cellar while they were all at work and in the evenings he was walked on a lead because of the close neighborhood.

The day we picked up Harley, the couple who loved him had a difficult time letting go. The very pregnant young wife cried and the soon to be father climbed into our van with Harley and held him tight.
“He was the best dog I have ever had,” he said through tears.

Our boy came home to live with us. He is not tied on a chain, or caged, or walked on a lead. We live in the woods where he chases field mice, squirrels and turkeys; as yet he has not caught one and would not know what to do if he did. He barks at deer and runs back inside the house.

His life is ruled by his obsessive compulsive love of the Frisbee; he has half a dozen scattered across the yard and in the house. He always takes one to bed with him at night. His bed is a really large pillow at the foot of our bed. (He is over 100 lbs now.) Next to his Frisbee is often one of my husband’s shoes. Harley does not chew the shoe, he sleeps with it.

Having lived with Brandy, an old girl, for so long, living with a young boy had it’s challenges. For the longest time when I would glimpse him, I’d see Brandy and my heart would swell. But as he grew larger and as his wacky personality made it’s mark, he became his own man.

Harley is understandably afraid of water and that is okay. He is well behaved and very handsome; he is a good boy.

On that terrible day when the woman waded into the water to confront and save I like to think Brandy was watching over that little ball of fur because she knew he needed us and more importantly, we needed him. Sitting on the front steps, the couch or outside on the lawn we hold him tight. He is safe, he is loved.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wry Writer Who ?

I have decided to start posting on my blog.
Don’t know why I have resisted it up to this point except to say it’s like entering a room full of people I don’t know and standing back for awhile to size up the bunch. I guess that’s what I have been doing, hanging back assessing the situation.
Well…what is the situation?
I am back to writing after many years of laying dormant. Sounds like a disease; I guess writing is like that sometimes, it has a tendency to override life…laundry not done, dishes pile up or I end up late to work because I just want to get one more sentence right.

As an essayist I am pretty comfortable with my format but I love writing fiction and am trying to do it well. It is a treat to step outside of my own mind and into someone else’s and a double treat when I can expand outside a limited essay word count.

Having been published many times, I stopped counting after fifty articles, and now being thrown into the slush pile is hard to take. I feel like I’m wallowing around the bottom of the pond trying to kick my way to the surface for a breath, standing on the bodies of the others at the bottom, eww, for one single gasp of a chance to keep me motivated and to be recognized.
So…that’s the dream but who the hell am I?

Wry Wryter a name I think almost perfectly describes my writing nature. There are many Wry Writers...I use too many cliche's, am too trite, I repeat myself, am redundant, (see I told you so) and my spelling is atrocious. If I were a student today my mother would have been told I have a spelling disability, actually I can’t spell because I hated spelling homework. I am somewhat mechanically minded which means I know enough about a lotta’ stuff to either fix it or break it.

If you are reading this then you have already seen a picture of Harley. He is my boy. We brought him home so that my husband would have another male in the house, poor boy, (my husband not the dog), too much estrogen with all these females around. Harley had a ‘ruff’ start in life and I will write about him eventually but today, this is all about me because, well, it’s all about me.
So, as a first post, here are a few simple questions…what is the meaning of life, why are we put here…is there really a God…will I ever walk into Borders and see my novel on the shelf? Questions, all profound and unanswerable in their own right.

I love to write, it is the one thing I do better than most other things. I am proud of the pieces I have had published and honored that the words I have written have in some instances influenced people’s lives and relationships, I’ve pissed off a few along the way and that’s good too, stirring up bees gets me jumpin’ sometimes for cover, sometimes hosed down with cold water. Bzzz
So…anyway, have a great ‘Doris’ day.