Pick a subject that hit national news this month and your blood might boil. Especially if you are a passionate writer and/or have a desire to make sense of this crazy world. I'll start out light to keep my blood pressure near normal. Did you see the new designs that took over the runways a couple of weeks ago? I'm sure everyone, everyone would say they were colorful. But what female with two breasts, natural hips and the urge to sit on a toilet would add these costumes to their closet? Hems trailing six feet behind, patterns so wild you should worry if you're near open land. Who holds your skirt tail if you have to sit on the pot? Eagles and impalas across your breasts or over your arms? You'll get shot during hunting season. Please, leave the owls and foxes where they belong. Cut our dresses at the knees, please. Girls want to look like girls...even if your 40, 50...you get my drift? Leave the stupid designs on the boards and get back to real clothes. Sexy, smart, flattering.
Protests? God bless those with a cause. But get real, why should taxpayers go broke paying for someone else's health care and retirement benefits? I'm all for giving early retirement and special privileges to high risk profession...god, I love those cops and firefighters with nerves of steel and backs to match. Give them more than those mindless basketball players who too often carry a gun and shot themselves in the foot. Give every soldier free health care for life and a college education. But if you choose another profession...teacher or desk clerk for a public organization, you should plan for your retirement just like everyone in the private sector. Save your money, pay yourself first. It is not my job to pay you to sit on your duff when you turn 55.
Freedom...those in the middle east are working on it. Why we continue to extract oil from dictators is beyond reason. Wonder what would have happened if the citizens had 2nd ammendment rights years ago? For all those bleeding hearts who say we should be a little more like Europe...take a good look at what is going on in Europe's backyard. Protect what we have at home, give up our dependency on foreign oil and drill at home. I'm not giving up my car to ride on a camel. Drill, baby, drill.
Charlie Sheen...did I read they are cancelling his show? Great...another looser out of the face of US kids. Yeah!
Now if all this doesn't get a writer riled...summer is coming. If there's a hurricane (god forbid), who will we blame it on?
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
We sit and write. Compelled or obsessed? USA Today reviewed Joyce Carol Oates this week. I'd say she is an obsessive writer. The two page article featured her recent memoir, the death of her husband, her many life accomplishments. Interesting--she writes constantly. So much so her scribbles are archived. They're taken out in carloads from her Princeton office. What I found even more interesting is the fact she runs two miles each day. And she's in her 70's! Gotta give the ole gal credit for doing something most of us refuse to do. She's also very thin...running, genetics or the fact she writes so much and doesn't take time to eat? This blog is food for thought because in another USA Today report, the news on heart disease and women wasn't good. Heart disease is woman's number one killer but more of us shake with fear over breast cancer. Neither should be ignored. Can writers curb their fears with the Oates' plan...run two miles? The challenge is for writers to get off their arses, eat less and concentrate on how to best keep their hearts flowing. If nothing else, why not do it for love. Oates lost her husband of 48 years...her writing didn't slow down nor did her heart. She remarried within 13 months and published her memoirs...not bad for a 70 something gal who is obsessed with writing.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Warm weather, the sun in your face...makes you think all is well with the world. After reading Nicholas Sparks book "Safe Haven" you might wonder, though, who is really safe. Someone who is supposed to be a great protector might turn out to be a hideous offender. Safe Haven is certainly a good read...what I call a beach read. It's set in the sunny south, Southport in the Carolinas. It is not for the weak at heart, though. It isn't a fun day at the beach. Abuse, neglect, arson, attempted murder. Perhaps this is Sparks most revealing book...a muse that is dark, frightening with an unforgiveable mean streak. The author, Sparks, stole our hearts with The Notebook, then came along a string of other contemporary love successes. The titles I forget (Sorry, Nicholas). Most were charming, enduring--all great beach reads. I particularly liked the settings for his stories because I'm an East Coast beach fan. If you've walked along the shore of Carolina Beach in September, the soft sand between your toes, the warm, warm surf splashing at your knees, the sun in your face, you'll feel like you've found your own Safe Haven. Something about the currents on a beach, the melody, the action...never quiet but always singing to your heart in one form or another. You don't know the words to the ocean's song, but you can't help but hum as you stroll along. Safe until the storm blows in...and that's what Nicholas Sparks' Safe Haven does to you. The pace, tension increases and strikes like a voilent storm. And after the storm.....back to the beach....Wil
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Sometimes it takes a frosty morning to get a point of view to change. I was prepared for a sunny, warm day but a storm blew in and I took cover. Long jeans, jacket, that is: no beach walk. From this desk it's not a bad way to spend the day. I delved into my latest work...a story about a fragile woman who thought she had her act together until she ventured to Paris. Near the end of a grand week, she and her friend are kidnapped. Rogues want to bring a large American company to their knees by demanding a huge ransom for these two unsuspecting victims. The story actually is about her recovery...and that's where point of view becomes important. Do I move in a world where my eyes, heart, thoughts are focused on the here and now? I do. I react to a change in climate, the news of the day, a delay in traffic, an email rejection with frustration but no real personal stake on the line. I'm sheltered, secure, well-fed, determined and driven...my point of view. But what about my characters...those who explore, live in a different world? How do I move from my within to their place where their eyes, heart, thoughts need to come alive on a page for others to see, feel and respond to? Its more than saying 'she said'. I realize I must take my heart to another level and I must dig deep into the psyche of my character to understand why she suffers. I have to change my point of view---not sheltered, secure, well-fed, etc. She's a sick women living in a web of fear. If I can't make myself shake with this fear, my reader won't either. And so I work today on my point of view. It's a chilly day, with frost on the window. I take off my jacket, my warm jeans and return to Carolyn who is shivering on a cement floor and I write again. She said, "I close my eyes, my mind and you are gone. There is nothing more you can take from me."