Monday, November 29, 2010

Facing Rejection

Debra B. Darvick provided the author interview for this week in my Bylines 2010 Writer's Desk Calendar. She talked of facing and overcoming rejection and not letting it stop her from writing and moving forward.

As writers, we all (or the great majority anyway) face rejection and must find the strength to continue on and not let it reign as the voice of negativity. I found Ms. Darvick's words quite inspiring this morning and wanted to share them with you as you start a new writing week.

"Whatever our stage as writers--taking those first tentative steps at submission or staking out territory in a new genre--we incur rejection. By facing it and moving on, we give those who follow the courage to join us on the road."

Happy writing!

Monday, November 22, 2010


This is a total digression, and I am not typically one for forwarding on emails received. However, this came to me this morning and really hit home. The final words struck me particularly, both in terms of what it means as a parent, wife and friend but also in terms of the words we writers "scatter" on a day to day basis in our articles, blogs and books. Happy reading...

I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas.

I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes.

Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.

'Hello Barry, how are you today?'

'H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas. They sure look good.'

'They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?'

'Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time..'

'Good... Anything I can help you with?'

'No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas..'

'Would you like to take some home?' asked Mr. Miller.

'No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with.'

'Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?'

'All I got's my prize marble here.'

'Is that right? Let me see it' said Miller.

'Here 'tis. She's a dandy.'

'I can see that. Hmm mmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?' the store owner asked.

'Not zackley but almost.'

'Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble'. Mr. Miller told the boy.

'Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.'

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me.

With a smile she said, 'There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever.

When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.'

I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado , but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.

Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts...all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket.

Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband's bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

'Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about.

They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim 'traded' them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size.....they came to pay their debt.'

'We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,' she confided, 'but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho .'

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.

The Moral :

We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.

Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles

~ A fresh pot of coffee you didn't make yourself.....

An unexpected phone call from an old friend ....

Green stoplights on your way to work...

The fastest line at the grocery store...

A good sing-along song on the radio...

Your keys found right where you left them.

Send this to the people you'll never forget. I just Did....

If you don't send it to anyone, it means you are in way too much of a hurry to even notice the ordinary miracles when they occur..


Today, I wish you many blessings and a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dive In

"Today, I'll take a deep breath and plunge into the calm lake of creative material within me."

What a promise to oneself and terrific way to begin a new writing week! These are the words I read this morning in WALKING ON ALLIGATORS. Susan Shaughnessy continues to inspire me on a daily basis with this book. In today's exerpt, she discusses the fact that "the only way to write is to dive in." The rest will come later, but we must not linger on the edge of inspiration, we must dive in--use the stories and ideas to plunge ahead and create.

Let me leave you with the words of Beverly Lowry who speaks to the heart of this:

"The material's out there, a calm lake waiting for us to dive in."

Let's take the plunge, shall we?

Monday, November 8, 2010


For your reading pleasure...a list of quotes I've been keeping for some time and turn to in times of needed inspiration and motivation. I hope you find something here today that will enlighten and help your writing week!

*The way to gain a good reputation, is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear. - Socrates

*The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can.
Robert Cushing

*When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.
Helen Keller

*Happiness does not consist in pastimes and amusements but in virtuous activities.

*Happiness resides not in posessions and not in gold; the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul.

*People with many interests live, not only longest, but happiest.
George Matthew Allen

*In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.
Albert Schweitzer

*Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.
Aldous Huxley

*If you do not hope, you will not find what is beyond your hopes.
St. Clement of Alexandra

*We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

*I have spread my dreams beneath your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

*Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
Henry David Thoreau

*Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
Harriet Tubman

*Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.
Pamela Vaull Starr

Monday, November 1, 2010

Changing Gears

I wanted to share something with you today that I read this morning in WALKING ON ALLIGATORS. I seem to keep finding such inspiration in this book! In today's exerpt, Anne Tyler was discussing the partitions around her writing persona and ordinary life. It made me realize how important it is to recognize the separate, yet intertwined, lives we lead as writers. Focus and concentration are necessary in our writing but also necessary in our day-to-day lives in many ways.

The discussion in today's reading spoke about "the ability to change gears from ordinary life to writing" being "priceless to writers." How true this is so much easier to focus on the daily chores and requirements demanding our attention after fulfilling our duties as a writer. The following words really brought this home for me...

"Today, I'll tune out my regular life and write for the period of time I have available. Then I'll tune in again."

I'm going to find a "switch" that allows me to move back and forth between these worlds to allow the greatest degree of concentration possible in any given arena. How do you make this work for you? I'd love to hear your strategies if you care to share.