• Remember to breathe
  • make small karma payments every now and then
  • read “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn
  • Listen to Pink Floyd while watching an old movie on mute
  • don’t own fish
  • watch Donnie Darko
  • understand how to use BitComet
  • go to a protest, even if you don’t agree with the protest
  • wear more yellow
  • Don’t smoke. **edited**
  • Read Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, just not together or in one sitting
  • locate your parent’s music collection to help understand who they were and are now
  • realize you are not as fat, stupid, or unattractive as you think you are
  • realize there is a difference between love and lust
  • never date ex-significant others – trust me
  • realize that people will die even if you don’t want them to
  • think of yourself a red and your lover as blue and your relationship as a vibrant purple – and watch for color changes
  • try everything once, minus the bad things
  • realize your definitions of bad things will change over time
  • question authority, think for yourself and read up on the guy that coined that last phrase
  • read “Culture of Make Believe” by Derrick Jensen
  • listen to your parents but realize that though they are wise in their years and experiences they are not always right or know what to do
  • send a dollar bill in the mail to someone at random at least once a year
  • be cautious of anyone that uses terms like “truth” or “freedom” all of the time
  • read what you believe but don’t always believe what you read
  • locate more sources of information than just your TV
  • learn how to make yourself smile
  • realize you are more privileged than many other people in the world
  • ask small children what the meaning of life is and believe them when they tell you
  • pay attention to the details
  • watch “Mindwalk” until it clicks
  • have at least one best friend you are attracted to and never sleep with them
  • change your favorite color for a while and see how it goes
  • don’t close your eyes before suffering
  • realize the Ying-Yang is one symbol, not two
  • meditate
  • dance on purpose
  • realize there are always more than two sides to any issue
  • understand propaganda
  • read more
  • trust yourself
  • move to another country for a while or travel for a great length of time
  • realize when someone tells you they just want to be friends they mean something else
  • realize when you do the same
  • know that the odds are in your favor that you will find someone else
  • realize power roles in your family
  • look up more than you look down, forward more than back
  • go through your old photos and look at the people in the background
  • listen more than talk when you get the chance
  • ask why more than replying because
  • teach
  • look at yourself from outside of yourself
  • realize people suffer because they hang on to things
  • be honest with your friends until you weed our all of the acquaintances
  • argue for something you don’t agree with on occasion
  • look at other people looking at other people
  • realize life is bigger than you and your worlds
  • watch the moon for an hour
  • Stumble
  • get a bowl of water, shake enough pepper on the water to coat the top, put a drop of dish soap on your finger and stick it into the water – and realize the reaction you get is the same reaction you will get if you always told the truth
  • get into an argument and lose it on purpose
  • read Bukowski
  • learn another language
  • on occasion, be empathetic to a fault
  • give more than take
  • realize that everything taught to you could have easily learned on your own had you wanted to begin with
  • and remember to breathe.

Three day juice cleanse

I woke up this morning completely craving a juice cleanse. Very odd. Much needed though.

So, rather than wait, I’m starting today with a the “Join the Reboot” 3-day cleanse. It’s a super simple program–start the day with hot water, lemon and ginger, have five juice meals, then end your day with some tea. Simple enough, right?

My (completely insane) Shopping List (for only THREE days):

9 organic carrots

15 organic apples,

9 small pieces of ginger (about 1 inch)

6.5 cucumber

23 celery stalks,

30-40 leaves kale (Australian tuscan cabbage) 6-8 leaves= 2c.

2.25 lemon

8 Plum Tomatoes

2 Red Bell Pepper (Australia capsicum)

.5 small Red Onion

10 cups Parsley, leaves and stems, roughly chopped and packed into the measuring cup

1 Lime

12-16 leaves swiss chard (Australian silverbeet)

6 clementines

1 large Sweet Potato

5 large Red Beets (Australia beetroot)

1 Orange, optional

6 cups Concord Grape

1/2 cup Blackberries

9 cups Spinach (~6 handfulls)

1 Jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed

12 Red Radishes

1.5 Fennel Bulb

2 broccoli stalks

1/2 head or 2 wedges green cabbage

1 bunch Basil

1 big bunch parsley (approx. 4 cups)

3 tomato

1-2 cloves garlic, peeled


 Let’s do this!
Have you or anyone you know successfully completed a juice cleanse?

‘Hunger Gaming’

A few months ago, I heard some buzz about this crazy little trilogy by Suzanne Collins called The Hunger Games.” Friends, who I know don’t read anything other than their Facebook feeds, were reading the books {and raving about them!}. Continue reading

If you want to feel incredibly uncomfortable for 86 minutes…

Then you really must watch Catfish (2010). Such a crazy film!

You actually won’t feel uncomfortable the whole time, but just the way events play out you’ll be laughing, you’ll be sad, you’ll be shocked, you’ll be scared.

It really gets you thinking about human nature and the extent some people will go to fulfill voids in their lives through the veil of the Internet. Everyone should watch this film, especially in this day & age.

Have you seen Catfish?  What did you think?

A Bit of Nostalgia

Driving down 95 south just now my head was full of scattered thoughts.

“What’s that smell? Is that my car? I really need to get an oil change. What am I going to eat for lunch? What should I write my thesis on? I really need to get started on that. What am I going to write my 5-page paper on? Did I take Lil out this morning? I hope she hasn’t been barking all day.  I need to get that paper out of the way so I can enjoy the afternoon. Such a beautiful day… such a horrible song!”

I jumped out of my scattered brain for a moment and reached down to the seek button that is cleverly placed right next to my rad tape player in my 2003 door wedge, I mean, Dodge Intrepid. The station jumped and an old familiar song was playing. I giggled. Savage Garden’s “Truly Madly Deeply.”

This was the song that led to my crazy Backstreet Boy obsession back in the day.

Continue reading


Valentine’s Day was yesterday, and if you are single and sour about it, I hope you stayed off Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and a variety of other social media sites for the day.

My social media sites were abuzz. There was certainly no missing the innumerable photos of everyone’s pretty flowers and sweet treats. Seeing so many pictures of flowers it got me thinking just a bit.

I’m seeing more and more eclectic arrangements. I’d almost go so far as to say there is a trend emerging…and I kind of like this trend.

Traditional is out, eccentric and creative is moving in.

I enjoy the eccentric combination of flowers—the quirky or bizarre combinations are really catching my eye. Yesterday, I even saw arrangements incorporating fruits, feathers and even seeds. Flowers, or even non-flowers, are coming together as creative, beautiful pieces of art.

Typically, I’m not a flower girl, but this non-flower girl might just spend some of my hard-earned cash on some of these fun combinations.

With the recent Pinterest explosion, something so simple as flowers is getting serious attention. I’m going to guess it has something to do with the fact that about 97% of Pinterest users are women. What are these women doing on Pinterest? Well, planning their dream weddings, of course.

Instagram is also very involved with posting the pretty today. If you haven’t already, consider scanning the popular photo feed.

Here are some of those fun combos I was telling you about.


is that an artichoke?

I adore this. Adore.

& here are my Valentine’s Day fleurs.

Star gazer Lilies. My favorite.

Have you noticed people are moving away from the typical and looking for the more eccentric flowers?

What are your favorite flowers?

A Thought About Webinars & Setting Yourself Apart from the Crowd

Webinar: A web-based seminar.

Webinars aren’t new. They’ve been around for quite sometime, but has any one else noticed the number of free webinars available has skyrocketed in the past year?

I have. Personally, I think it is phenomenal {but I am also a raging nerd}. Not all webinars being offered are worthy of your time, but I’ve been surprised by quite a few lil gems out there. I’ve created a public calendar of useful mass communication events {including quite a few webinars} at my work, Iona College’s Department of Mass Communication. My thought behind this project is that there are so many great things happening in the mass comm field that could expand the students’ working knowledge of communications. Sometimes the issue is just knowing about the event before it takes place.

Being a grad student gearing up for the pretty serious task of searching for a “real” job once I graduate at the end of this summer, I wonder–Should I be keeping track of the webinars I “attend?”

I haven’t done much research on this thought, but I think it IS useful to keep track of the webinars you “attend.” It shows that you are genuinely interested in your work and are doing something to make yourself a more effective communicator.

In this job market, it is important to do anything you possibly can to set yourself away from the pack. What makes you better than all your peers with the same exact degree as you? Your desire to grow, evolve and stay up to date in an ever advancing industry. So continue to educate yourself. This gives employers insight to the type of employee you will be–ever improving.

Webinars are uber convenient, you can find them on just about any topic that interests you, and plenty of them are free {So there isn’t any excuse not to take advantage of them!!}. More often than not if you can’t “attend” the original event, those that register get a link to view it later. Again, convenient!

Most recently, I got word that PRSA is offering 30 free webinars to members this coming January 2012.

An avid PRSA fan and webinar enthusiast–this nerd thinks Christmas is coming in January this time around!

What do you think-Is there value in getting involved and tracking webinars?

Heard of any great webinars recently?

Currently Reading…

Why: Living with a boyfriend means your library doubles in size in just one day! Among the graphic novels and super hero comics I found this fat little book. I knew the name, knew it was a classic and knew I needed something to read so I picked it up.

Thoughts: I’m reading chapter 4 now so I’m not far-page 70. To be honest, during the first three chapters I had no freaking idea what was going on or why Dostoevsky was writing about certain things. I’m starting to see the beginning of a plot.

Have you read C&P?

Is it a yay or nay, in your opinion?

Goals & reorganization

I’m a loser baby…

So I have an obsession with goal-setting. Unfortunately, I set too many goals and don’t allow myself the time necessary to follow through at least when it comes to this blog. It also happens that I get over excited and begin to branch that goal into 87 different directions at once.  I’d like to think that the more goals I set, the more I’ll eventually accomplish. So I’ll keep throwing them out there and eventually I’ll have a few success stories {Yes? No?}.

Continue reading

Character: Casting Shadows #3

First and foremost, I must apologize for not writing much this past week or so. I took a final trip home to wrap up the summer and bring my puppy {who isn’t a puppy anymore at almost 8-years-old} back with me to my apartment. My father has been dog-sitting for the past four years. Once I got back, I started school and work and blah blah blah still no excuse for not keeping up with everything. But here I am & ready to write.

We’ve already determined a character needs to have a driving force–a desire. They must also be able to come across as relatable and multidimensional. Now we are focusing on a character’s ability to change. As Reissenweber points out, it is almost essential that the main character have the ability to change and evolve.

“Just as the desire of a main character drives the story, the character’s change is often the story’s culmination. While a main character usually does change to some degree, either dramatically or in the more gentle form of a realization, this does not mean your character actually has to make a change at the end of thee story or that the change has to be whole and complete.”

The reader should be able to feel the character has the ability to undergo change, however. You don’t want the character to feel predictable.

Your Turn:
Return to the character for whom you have created a desire and contrasting traits. Time to bring this person to life. Write a passage where this character is pursuing his or her desire in some way. For example, perhaps the actress is traveling to an audition to which she was not invited. (Oh, yes, it’ll help tremendously if you put some obstacles in the character’s path.) You don’t have to bring this “quest” to a conclusion, but have something happen that allows both contrasting traits to emerge and also try to include some hint that the character is capable of change. That’s a lot of juggling, so don’t worry if it comes out  a little clumsy. 

You’ll have to wait for the next post to read my passage {is it killing you?!}!

Write a passage with me!

What obstacles will your character face that show them to be dimensional with the ability to change?

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“They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.” Confucius

Credit via Google Images

“Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change – this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress.” Bruce Barton

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”  C.S. Lewis


I’m proud to announce… I have my first ever guest blogger, Neha!

I’ve been working on a little blog PR with 20SB. They host these huge Blog Swaps where you are given a partner and post on eachother’s blogs. It is a great way to reach readers you may have never reached before.

This blog swap’s topic was summertime. Without further ado here is a lovely summertime poem by Neha…

I am home

A fairy tale came sat by me

tonight she helps me sleep
Weaving intricate designs to be
Patterns of shared memories

Sparkling chandelier glows in dark
Rusty strings come alive
Casting spells of loves to come
Just like bitter sweet strawberries

Smells of fields and sounds of forest
Painted skies and the man on moon
Shimmering stars and distant lights
Whisper my name, welcome me home

Yes I am home
Tonight I am free
From nightmares that claimed me…..

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Character: Casting Shadows #2

Since we are looking into the construction of characters, it is only right to dive into those characters who are not fundamentally good–the villains. As Reissenwebber points out: “Literature is filled with great villains. Part of what makes them so compelling is the bit of ourselves we can see in them.”


Is that the truth or is that the truth?!?!

Think about it. When a character isn’t being bad, he’s doing the things you and I do. Right? He/she is watching TV, eating dinner or grocery shopping for the week. Just because a character may be a villain doesn’t mean they need to be evil every second. Maybe they are even helping their neighbor with a lofty weekend project? Like us, real-life breathing humans, characters should be dimensional.

Your Turn:
Recall the worst person you’ve ever met. A psychotic boss, a back-stabbing friend, a playground bully. Or make someone up. Next, assign one redeeming quality to this character–kindness, courtesy, sympathy, a fondness for animals. Then write a passage with this person in action. Perhaps you show a sadistic ex-spouse helping a homeless person find shelter, or a bank robber arranging a baby sitter on behalf of a woman he’s just tied up. The result? A fully dimensional villain.
She stepped out of the shower and wrapped a bath towel around her. She grabbed a smaller towel for her head. She flipped her head upside down and looked at the dirty blonde hair that had fallen in front of her eyes. It was getting longer than she usually wore it. Though she loved the way the longer hair fell around her face and sometimes in front of her eyes, she wasn’t about to compromise her work for a moment of feeling sexy. Longer hairs, at least in her mind, were easier to spot. She had to remember to get it cut soon.
She twirled the towel around her forehead and balanced it on top of her head. She grabbed the gallon of bleach from beneath the bathroom sink. She quickly splashed the bleach around the walls of the shower and let it pool in the bottom of the tub.
“I’ll have to come back and do a more thorough job, but for now, it’ll work.” She thought to herself. 


The woman walked down the hall to her bedroom. She quickly dressed in a clean flowing long skirt and a plain white tank top. Within 10 minutes she had blow-dried her hair, dressed and put on a quick layer of make up. It was her same routine now for over 15 years. 
Walking out her front door, the woman took a deep breath of the summer air. She was hit with the scents of fresh-cut grass and the flowers that grew in her front yard, it was sweet and made her feel grateful to be alive. A sense of exhilaration swept over her. Though the fresh air did not feel as empowering as the metallic scent she smelled just 20 minutes before, she felt so electric.
But that is how she always felt after taking another’s life away. Alive. Exhilarated. Electric. 
Walking down the street, she peered at her reflection in a neighbor’s massive bay window. She was tall and thin, but extremely strong. She looked great. She looked powerful. She looked confident. She wore a smile as she waved to Mr. Perry who was watering his flower beds across the street.
“Mr. Perry!” She yelled across the street, waving.
“How are you? Water tank holding up?” He asked. A week ago she was having difficulty with her hot water and had asked him to come take a look at it. Mr. Perry was always working on his house. He was known in the neighborhood as the handiest man around. He was miraculously able to get it to function for a few days longer, but urged her to begin looking for a new one.
“Oh, well, I took your advice. Put an order in yesterday for a new one. Thanks again for all your help, Mr. Perry. I don’t know what I would have done without you.” She replied with a gracious smile and she kept walking. She waved once again saying goodbye for now.
“I’m sorry to hear that. Hopefully, this one will last longer and don’t mention it, dear. Anytime, you just give me a call.” He smiled his sweet smile and waved goodbye. In fact, she didn’t mind having to replace the hot water tank at all. Hot water tanks hid bodies well if even for a few hours.
She walked until she was in town. She stopped at the Centre Cafe where she bought herself a bowl of oatmeal with a dab of molasses and a small chai tea. She chatted with the ladies from the neighborhood for about an hour. She didn’t particulary find their company entertaining. In fact, she didn’t really like the majority of them at all–Housewives discussing new recipies and kid issues weren’t really her cup of tea. She made up her mind to head over to Memoirs Antiques with her neighbor and the only woman she really cared for, Polly, who had hung out in the cafe all morning. They strolled over to the shop to look at all the old items that held, what the woman liked to think of as mysterious memories.
“I love to look at all these vintage pieces and think about the stories they tell. Just think about the people who once loved this little wooden doll. Some little girl probably had the fondest memories about this little baby.” The woman said to her friend.
“Oh, I know. Isn’t it just nice to fantasize. Sometimes I creates elaborate stories of what might have been.” Polly said as she turned over a tiny plate in her hand. “Like look at this! Apparently, this china goes back to the Civil War.  Imagine the owner of a giant plantation eating breakfast off of this as they hear gunshots in the distance.” Polly said with wonder. 
She smiled at Polly with sincere affection walking over to take a better look at the china from the Civil War.  
The women continued to look through the store building elaborate stories for the antique treasures for another 40 minutes before leaving. The woman said goodbye to her friend, lying that she had a hair appointment to make. With a quick kiss and a hug, she promised to call tomorrow morning to set up a brunch date.
Though not sure what her next step was, she decided a hair appointment was a good enough lie and it gave her something to do. The woman headed over to the salon to see if they could fit her in. It never took long to cut her hair since it was already pretty short to begin with. On her walk over, she stopped for a second to look at herself in a store front window. Did she need a wash? She had just washed it a couple of hours ago. But she might as well. It would give her more of an opportunity to be seen and remembered. She looked at herself for another second thinking she was glowing with a radiance no one could understand. It was as if the sun was only shining on her. She felt electric once again.
After her wash and cut, she walked the two blocks to the market to pick up some dinner and a few items for tomorrow. She decided she would have Polly over to her house for brunch tomorrow. That would be nice. To cook for a close friend and catch up on all the neighborhood gossip she had absolutely no interest in.

So there is my piece…I tried to make it a bit more subtle than the prompt suggested. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. It’s just a passage so there isn’t any plot–conflict, problem, climax, resolution all that good junk. The woman is a narcissist and a murderer, but yet friendly. I’m still developing her, but I want her to be a murderer (not good), but her victims themselves are not going to be fundamentally good. Does that make her relatable? We shall see.

Create a villain with me!
What sort of average human traits would you make your character have?

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This post is part of my creative writing experiment that will get me writing more often and more creatively. All excerpts and “Your Turn” prompts are from the Gotham Writers’ Workshop Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide From New York’s Acclaimed Creative Writing School. As I write my way through this book, I welcome all constructive criticism, suggestions, advice and comments.

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I just need to share this….

WordPress tells you how people get to your blog. Today, it has informed me that someone ended up on my blog via the search result…

stick it up your butt emoticon

Yes, I am beyond baffled. I tried it myself. I Googled “Stick it up your butt emoticon.” I couldn’t find my blog anywhere among the results. Hmmm…I guess, I shouldn’t care how you get here as long as you get here. Still, I just want to make it known, I don’t even know what the “stick it up your butt emoticon” looks like nor have I ever used anything remotely along those lines. I don’t use emoticons much…but honestly I’m curious to see what this one looks like.

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Character: Casting Shadows

In the previous GWW posts I learned about the what, how and why of fiction. Chapter 2 Character: Casting Shadows by Brandi Reissenweber is about what makes fiction particularly captivating to readers. As Reissenweber learned from a young long-term hospital patient, people read “because they get to meet lots of different people.” Continue reading

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Fiction: The What, How & Why of It #3

Show up for work. Writing is work. It needs to be practiced and practiced and practiced {& practiced & practiced & practiced}.

Steele breaks writing into two different categories: hard time and soft time. Sounds a bit like doing a stint in prison, but if you enjoy writing then obviously it is time well spent. Hard time is actually planting your ass in the chair and producing content. It’s where the words are written. The less aknowledged but equally important, soft time, is done at all other times. When you are thinking about your work you’re engrossed in your very own soft time sesh {session but cooler}. Think brainstorming. When you’re considering where you want your piece to go, or not go, you are tossing around ideas and contemplating all of the details–that is soft time.

Personally, soft time is a highly enjoyable portion of the writing process. You don’t need to sit in your office, coffee shop, or at your kitchen table staring at the blinking cursor on your computer screen. Get out! Move around! Explore! Keeping your story in the back of your mind, rather than focusing all of your attention on your problem, you let the inspiration come to you. Writing doesn’t suck, people. It is personal and fun and creative. It is anything you make it.

Steele also writes about two different types of writers: Free Spirits and Stern Editors.

Free Spirit

Free Spirits aren’t hard to imagine. They are completely engrossed when they want to be. They’ll write what they want, when they want, and they don’t feel the need to satisfy others by sticking to the rules. They are mad cool and super chill. They’ll throw you love deuces in excess. Stern Editors {as I hope you have guessed} are about concise, grammatically correct, logical writing. Delete those unnecessary words, rid yourself of those comma splices and don’t you dare use abbrevs because the Stern Editor will hunt you down and there is no telling what price you will pay when you piss off the Stern Editor.

Stern Editors

The point is both need to learn to work well with the other. If you write well you are able to embrace both within yourself. Early on throw around the peace and love and just go with the flow. Set the ground work, but don’t hold yourself back by worrying about anything too much. Free Spirits free write.

Your Turn:
Take this opening phrase: Sam wasn’t sure if it was a wonderful sign or a sign of disaster but Sam knew… Write down that fictional opener, then keep going. Free write, meaning write without stoping or even thinking too much, just scribble away however many things come out. You should write for at least five minutes but feel free to go as long as you like. No one will see this but you, and you have permission for this to be nothing but gibberish. Just feel what it’s like to write in a white heat. 

So, since I’m dedicated to my creative writing experiment, I will set my timer for 10 minutes. I’ll warn you now, I’m a horrible speller. When I free write I close my eyes {is that weird?} so as to not focus or get held back by the typos and misspellings. I let my hands flow over the keyboard and do not correct a single error. I absolutely guarantee it will be complete and utter gibberish. Here is what my free write looks like….

Sam wasn’t sure if it was a wonderful sign or a sign of disaster but Sam knew he felt liberated. He had just trhown his cellphone off of the brooklyn bridge. It was the last of his devices keeping in contact with the world. He was once again his own man. He didn’t belong to his corporate job that had made him miserable for the past 9 years. He’d quit. He had donated all his belongs to the Salvation army and broke his lease on his rent controlled penthouse. He had just thrown away his identity he had spent so many years working to define himself as. No, he knew this was wonderful. Sam let his only family member, his mother, know he was going away for quite some time. It was his last order of business before the cell phone toss. 
“Mom! you home?” He yelled as he walked into the front of his childhood brownstone. 
“I’m back here, Sam. Come join me.” His mother, only 18 years older than he, was cute as a button. The tiny little lady was in the back tending to her window sill overflowing with herbs. He worshiped her. She the woman he compared all women to and he was not embarrassed of this in the least. She had overcome so much in her life, he could not begin to imagine surviving himself. 
“Hey Mom, how are you today?” He asked her. “I’m doing just fine, Sweetie. What are you up to? What day is it? Why aren’t you at work?” 
“I took the day off, Mom. I wanted to drop this off to you. Remember, I told you I am going away for a while?” 
“Oh, yes yes. Is that today? Well, let me bring this inside, washup and we will get started.” 
The two walked inside to the kitchen where Sam opened his bag and pulled out a top of the line, fully-loaded MacBook Pro. The two spent an hour hovered over the “computer machine,” as his mother called it, trying to teach her how to work it. Sam got her to the point where she was able to turn it on and open the internet. She was thrilled because he had set up the “Faceplace” account as she had asked and found her old friend from high school who had told her join about a month before. 
“Well this is just fantastic!” His mother was in awe as she scrolled through the pictures of her highschool days she had been tagged in. 
“Ok mom. I better get going or I don’t think I’ll ever get moving.” He closed the laptop and stood up from the table. 
“Oh Sam I wish you would tell me where you are going. How will I know if you are ok?” 
“It will be fine. I’ll be fine. I told you I will call you in one month, so on the 10th, to let you know I am alive.” He assured her. “I have to go now though mom.” 
” Is this a work thing?” she asked. He ignored her and walked over to the junk drawer where he knew she stored her post-it notes. He wrote “Sam Calls Sept. 10th.” and stuck it to her fridge. He gave his mother a giant bear hug and a kiss on the forehead. I will see you later mom. 
“I just wish you’d stop being so secretive. Where are you going?” Truth was Sam didn’t know where he was going. He didn’t know how he was getting there. He had no clue. No answers. Only questions.
He saw the faint splash from down below as his cell hit the water. He took a deep breath, picked up his backpack and began walking.

So there you have it– my free write. Now as you can tell the Stern Editor would now have to awaken and fix all the mistakes. She would probably tackle my Free Spirit and land a nice right hook to the jaw, but that is ok. At least I just went with it. I leave you with a Steele quote

“Maybe writing fiction is akin to those personal challenges we call recreation…These Things are rewarding because they are not so easy. They awaken us by making us feel the vibrations of our inner potential, regardless of the outcome. Writing is one of the best possible personal challenges because the room for growth is as limitless as outer space and you’re never too young or to old to give it a go.”

Which type of writer do you consider yourself naturally?

Now you try it. Do your own five minute free write sesh. Feel free to share!

This post is part of my creative writing experiment that will get me writing more often and more creatively. All excerpts and “Your Turn” prompts are from the Gotham Writers’ Workshop Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide From New York’s Acclaimed Creative Writing School. As I write my way through this book, I welcome all constructive criticism, suggestions, advice and comments. 

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Fiction: The What, How & Why of It #2

In continuing my creative writing experiment, I have come upon the section titled See the Seeds. To dive into fiction there must first be something to dive into.

Ideas are the seeds from which the mimosa tree or the watermelon or Delphinium of a story will arise. There are no rules about what constitutes a proper seed. It can be a character, a name, a situation, structure, over heard dialogue, a setting, a theme even a vague feeling. — Steele 9

I’ve come to realize, thanks to Steele and Chapter one, writers will inevitably write from what they know whether it simply lend itself to the emotions characters experience, the perspective or the tone of the work. But that isn’t the most important thing when it comes to writing. Write what ignites your interest. It is so incredibly simple. Write about the things that gnaw at your conscience, things you cannot let go of, things that keep you moving forward. You may find it is life’s little unanswered questions that provoke the urge and if that be the case, run with it and see where it takes you.

Personally, I think that is the allure of writing. The possibilities are literally endless. It all depends on where you allow yourself to take it.

Your Turn:
Write down ten things that might possibly serve as story ideas, drawing from things that happened to you over the past week–people, emotions, thoughts, situations. Nothing is too big or small, cosmic or microscopic. Then review you list and pick the idea that looks the most promising for a story. The right idea will probably give you a buzz when you see it. Then list several ways in which this idea might be turned into a fictional story. Will your idea result in a brilliant story? Maybe, maybe not. But you’ll probably discover how plentiful ideas can be.

1. A character finds they have everything anyone would want in their lives, but still struggles with finding happiness. Gives up search…

2. A seemingly normal corporate working woman begins painting images on her Buddha Board at work to relieve stress. Her images come to life start butting in where they don’t belong. She’s committed.

3. Man accidentally finds himself in possession a winning gum ball worth $70 million. He spends the day dreaming and contemplating his next steps.

{He just wanted to chew some gum. He hadn’t heard about the contest for the $70m as he put in his quarter and watched the intriguingly intricate gold-purple-paisley-gum ball tumble down the swirling slide to crash through the tiny little metal door at the bottom of the bright red classic gum ball dispenser. Man gets distracted. Man remembers gum ball. Man examines gum ball and decides it is just too beautiful to eat. He isn’t convinced he got what he paid. He wanted some gum. Goes to Bodega to buy some Winterfresh. Sees ad for $7om gum ball search. Decides to leave store before pulling out gum ball out of pocket in the middle of the street. Stands as life rushes around him, examining the precious ball. Could it be? What now?}

4. Bank teller steals $100 from middle-class stay-at-home-mom too feed family. Mom calls bank to report. Teller loses job & gets revenge on SAH mom.

5. Vintage love.

6. Detailed description of a character realizing the days are getting shorter and what this means in their life.

7. Sex addict meets virgin. Fall in love. Will they make it?

8. The story of the roller coaster ride.

9. Woman grows up with the hope of one day finding her long lost mother only to learn late in life her mother died shortly after her birth by finding stacks and stacks of journals in the attic of her recently deceased father. Questions never asked will always be questions unanswered.

10. My first moments with my new baby mini giraffe.

Some of my ideas are ridiculous, but they were meant to be. Steele explains that first you need to work on producing ideas. These ideas all popped into my crazy-lame head by looking around my tiny little office and day dreaming for about half an hour. Can you imagine how many ideas would come if I decided to devote one day to just brainstorming creative ideas?

These ideas are just seeds. To plant these seeds and get them to grow big and strong, they need to be both entertaining and meaningful and satisfy our primal need for fiction. To satisfy both, fiction demands better story telling than real life, according to Steele.

What are your thoughts on my crazy seeds?

Try it with me! Look around you for some idea seeds of your own?

Did you brainstorm a seed that made you buzz?

This post is part of my creative writing experiment that will get me writing more often and more creatively. All excerpts and “Your Turn” prompts are from the Gotham Writers’ Workshop Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide From New York’s Acclaimed Creative Writing School. As I write my way through this book, I welcome all constructive criticism, suggestions, advice and comments. 

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Fiction: The What, How & Why of it…

Chapter one of GWW Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide from New York’s Acclaimed Creative Writing School by Alexander Steele, as the title suggests, examines the what, how and why of fiction.

Fiction |ˈfik sh ən|(noun): literature in the form of prose, esp. short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people.

According to Steele, as humans we write stories for two reasons: entertainment and meaning. Entertainment is obvious. But what in the world does he mean when he says, “we seem to have a primal need for fiction, or really any kind of story, that is as deeply rooted as our need for food, shelter and companionship,”? Well, as humans we are curious and we are insecure. We are searching for the who, what, where, when and why in life. As Steele says, this lofty goal is the search for truth.

Think of the classics. Think:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

“The Tell-Tale Heart” Edgar Allen Poe (1843)

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1885)

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)

“The Lady with the Dog” by Anton Chekhob (1899)

What do these all have in common? They satisfy our primal needs. They are both entertaining and have great meaning.

I’ve come upon the first “Your Turn” of the book.

Choose a work of fiction that you cherish. In a single sentence,
try to state the major reason why you love reading this work.
Then list several ways with which you think the author achieved
this effect. The reasons don’t have to employ any fancy terms 
and they don’t have to make sense to anyone but you. You’re simply
trying to tune in to the source of the magic.

I can’t pick my favorite work of fiction. It simply isn’t possible. That is just as impossible as picking my favorite song. I cannot do it. I’ll do this exercise on my most recent read, The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson.

I love reading this book because Lisbeth Salander is so extraordinary, and yet she possessed qualities that resonate with readers.

The author achieved this because 1. He made Salander a loner who was beaten down by society and those she relied on. Who hasn’t felt this way before? 2. She was odd, someone not many people would give a second look to. But she was a capable and extremely moral person hellbent on doing what was right. Who doesn’t want to fight for what is right? 3. Though relatable, she is extreme, an extent  readers would think about going to but probably wouldn’t have the cajones to carry through.

What I am saying is she provoked my curiosity because she was a peculiar character and yet, she was like me. She fights for what she believes in. She is searching for justice and the truth just as I am. Salander was just one aspect of the book though. I think the book was phenomenal because it takes readers to a fantasy that still grasps at reality. Seemingly real people in extraordinary situations, I suppose. Makes you wonder, if I were in those situations would I do what these characters did?

Have you read The Girl Who series by Stieg Larsson?

What did you like and how did Larsson achieve that effect?

This post is part of my creative writing experiment that will get me writing more often and more creatively. All excerpts and “Your Turn” prompts are from the Gotham Writers’ WorkshopWriting Fiction: The Practical Guide From New York’s Acclaimed Creative Writing School. As I write my way through this book, I welcome all constructive criticism, suggestions, advice and comments. 

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‘And the days are not full enough’

And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
                Not shaking the grass.

Ezra Pound
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The good and the bad–products

So, yesterday I noticed a bunch of coupons at the bottom of my CVS receipt. I took this as an opportunity to try out a couple beauty products. I’ve been wanting to try that New CoverGirl Outlast Lip Stain. I wanted something pale and very subtle so I went with “flirty nude”.

No Bueno

Let me start off by telling you, it looks like I drank about 3 gallons of red Kool-aid. Flirty nude? NO, more like I-just-ate-a-cherry-popsicle-and-slobbered-all-over-my-face.  I look {straight-up super seriously} foolish. Before applying and seeing as it is a stain, I used a honey and sugar lip exfoliant to make sure my lips were nice and soft {dry skin on the lips makes for an uneven application}. Then I went for it. It needs to be called a lip marker. It works exactly like a Sharpie. I color with the some champion 4-year-old colorers {Sensei Peyton} and thankfully my training has come in handy. You have to color in your lips using a stiff dried-up Sharpie {be sure to color in the lines!!}. The smooth gliding formula that the product claims is non-existant.

Color: Extremely misleading.

Price: $8.99 {Wasted}

Wear: Uneven, fades streaky {Kool-aid stash} lasts max 3 hours.

{NOT Recommended}

I also had a coupon for Sally Hansen Crackle Overcoat nail polish. Crackle seems to be all the rage. Everyone seems to want that disheveled look.

Vintage Violet

I figured, since it would be next to nothing to buy two with my coupons {coo-pins!!}, I’d give them a try. My initial thought was that they must be worth it because there were very very few choices left in the store. I went with the vintage violet and fractured foil. I painted a solid base coat in basic white first, then applied the fractured foil crackle polish overcoat. It did just as it said. It crackled. My only issue was my own poor judgement with the white base coat. It came out looking like I painted my nails then made it my mission to let everything mess it up before it dried {Note to self: more contrast needed to see crackle}. I experiemented with the vintage violet on my tootsies, and I’ll be honest it looked pretty sick {BA for certain}. I even tried layering the vintage violet and fractured foil, which turned out sort of awesome as well. You’ll have to experiment a bit with how thick or thin you want it to get your desired crackle effect. All in all it was a straight forward, easy to use and did as it says.

Color: right on {duh, you can see it}

Price: Approx. $6.99

Wear: Easy application, fast drying, good value


Have you used these products before? Do you agree? Leave a comment.

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& so it begins…

I’ve decided to go ahead with the write-my-way-through-a-creative-writing-book idea.

The book:

Gotham Writers’ Workshop

Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide From New York’s Acclaimed Creative Writing School

Last night, I got re-acquainted with the book {I’ve had it since high school}. I read the “From Gotham Writers’ Workshop Founders” first. I learned that the workshop has turned into a large operation with hundreds of instructors and thousands of students each year.

When I discussed my idea I met some heavy criticism, which I wasn’t expecting. I was told “you can’t teach talent. You can either write or you can’t,” and another said “The only way to write well is to read.”  I was thoroughly  shocked at both of these responses. Yes, you indeed can’t teach raw talent, but you can certainly foster, refine and improve your skills. Then, of course, reading absolutely makes you a stronger writer, however, I’ll have to argue that reading is the only way to be a good writer {calling BS on this one}. Though these responses to my {what I considered brilliant} idea were unexpected, they did make me realize these people were completely unfounded in their criticisms and just wanted to discourage me for some reason or another. Mission incomplete. Discourage me and I will do anything to prove you wrong {I’d like to thank those who didn’t believe in me or my idea. You were a marvelous inspiration and I couldn’t have done it without you}.

To my surprise the book agreed with me:

“Simply put, we believe anyone can write. We believe writing is a craft that can be taught. True, talent cannot be taught, only nurtured, but the craft of writing can be taught. We’re devoted to teaching the craft in a way that is so clear, direct, and applicable that our students begin growing as writers during their very first class.”

From “How to Use this Book”:

“You shouldn’t just read your way through this book, but write your way through it as well. After all, you’re reading this book because you want to write….You shouldn’t worry about turning these exercises into brilliant works of fiction. Rather you should simply focus on experimenting and having fun with the task at hand.”

{That I will!}

Now that I am confident my idea/experiment is on key and in harmony with the purpose of the book, I was ready to get started. Not so fast. Before diving into chapter one, I first had to read the short story Cathedral by Raymond Carver. The book references this short story quite often.

Cathedral is a great short story. As it turned out, I liked it a great deal. I won’t go into great detail in case you’re interested in checking it out yourself {recommended}. But, it is about a man who is visited by his wife’s blind friend. He is horribly uncomfortable with the idea and doesn’t know how to go about interacting with someone with a disability. You almost hate the guy from the beginning because he is so ignorant. As the story progresses, his point of view becomes more and more enlightened as he learns about the blind man’s abilities. The shift in the way you feel about the almost ignorant man is incredible. That is what I would like to achieve with my writing.

I’ll jump into chapter one as soon as possible.

Excited to move forward!

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