Kill Your Darlings!

LarryItsBeautiful

If you write long enough you will experience (hopefully often) the joy of that perfect sentence. That moment when the doors of inspiration open up, thoughts come together and manifest in your consciousness. They flow out from your fingertips like cloud to ground lightening, and burn across your manuscript. Oh, magnificent wonderment! What is it, you ask yourself? Where did that come from? You have no idea but you do know it is beautiful!

When the elation wears off and reality returns, you may be slapped with a thought or two.

One, (here enters self-delusion) what you’ve just written is the most perfect, poetic, graceful, well-constructed sentence you’ve ever written. You are in love with your creation. You think, who wouldn’t be?

Secondly, (here enters reality) and more to the point, it does not fit your work in progress (wip)—that beauty of a novel you’ve been pounding on for months. Doesn’t fit. Not anywhere. Not one word is actually applicable to the manuscript whereupon it landed; worse, it doesn’t fit any wip on your to-do list.

What to do with your beautiful creation, your darling sentence? As you ponder this dilemma, a whispered voice speaks to you with sobering advice:

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” ― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Inspiration And Motivation May Appear From Anywhere

BradburyYouFailOnly

Serendipity anyone?

Plodding along, sluggish and uninspired, I failed to make my writing quota for the week. Granted, it has been raining heavily for over a week bringing needed moisture to the land. Unfortunately, it also brought severe storms and left behind overcast, dark conditions that fed the procrastination monster and left me in a gloomy, uninspired mood. I muddled around, lethargic and unproductive, until a blogger friend of mine, Kay Kauffman at suddenlytheyalldied posted a picture of seeds on a dandelion.

That picture made me think of one of my favorite authors, Ray Bradbury, and his work “Dandelion Wine.” That, in turn, brought to mind Mr. Bradbury’s many famous quotes some of which I decided to post here in the event anyone else might need a bit of get-off-your-backside-and-create type serendipity in their writing life. Thank you Kay!

More inspiration and motivation from Ray Bradbury:

“You can’t TRY to do things. You must simply DO them.”

“Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.”

“Remember plots are no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.”

“Bees do have a smell you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with the spices from a million flowers.” (from Dandelion Wine)

A Bad Analogy Is Like A Good Analogy, Only Somehow Different

Dictionary definition:  A’nal’o’gy (noun) 1. Comparison between two things that are similar in some way, often used to help explain something or make it easier to understand.

Sometimes bad analogies make us laugh, or perhaps cringe. Here are twelve really bad analogies originally attributed to school children.

  1. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
  2. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
  3. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
  4. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
  5. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
  6. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
  7. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
  8. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
  9. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
  10. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
  11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
  12. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

Books In Bloom 2015

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I attended the Books In Bloom event in Eureka Springs, Arkansas again this year and am happy to report both weather and turn-out was good despite thunderstorms and heavy rains the two days previous.

Met some wonderful, interesting authors including the internationally best-selling author Tess Gerritsen who writes the Rizzoli & Isles series as well as many, many others. Her website is here http://www.tessgerritsen.com/

Kimberly and James Dean, authors of the children’s book series Pete The Cat, were very entertaining and drew a large audience, many of whom were young ones tightly clutching their personal copies of Pete’s various adventures eager for autographs. Listening to the two authors during their presentation, there could be no doubt Kimberly and James were in their happy, sweet zone doing what they love best. https://www.petethecat.com/about

Many regional authors also participated including Nancy Hartney (Washed In The Water); Abby Burnett (Gone To The Grave); Margaret Jones Bolsterli (Kaleidoscope-Redrawing an American Family Tree); Robert Cochran & Suzanne McCray (Lights! Camera! Arkansas! and Our Own Sweet Sounds).

For a list of all Books In Bloom participants both this year and past you may visit Books In Bloom, Eureka Springs.

I’m already looking forward to Books In Bloom 2016 on the grounds of the historic Crescent Hotel in beautiful Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Goodbye My Love, Goodbye

I recently wrote a short story about a young man, his high school sweetheart, and their less-than-desirable marriages (they tied the knot twice with each other before it all fell apart for good). The story, despite its description, is actually humorous and ends well. However, in some dark corner of my mind, I wondered: what if it hadn’t ended well? What if the man couldn’t handle the fact his one true love was unfaithful? That’s when this poem came to me.

Goodbye My Love, Goodbye

Retreating inward from the pain,

I smell the sweetness of her hair

As we move along the path. I strain

Uphill, dragging muddied weight to where

Headstones squat like sacred peaks between

Mowed grass where walked mourning crones.

Stoic statues weathered, weeping, still serene,

Guarding lengthy rows of buried bones.

 

We halt. Crows pass, loud caws abating.

A portal beyond the pale awaits, silent.

The gaping hole lies open, waiting, waiting

For my dearest here quiet, broken, spent.

Farewell, sweet beauty, unfaithful miss.

I weep. Red lipstick on blue, icy lips

Beckons. Entranced, I take one final kiss

Before tossing splendor into the dark abyss.

Goodbye my love, goodbye.

How To Survive A Relationship With A Writer

I discovered this list of top ten tips on how to survive a relationship with a writer over at www.writerswrite.co.za

Numbers 4, 5, and 10 are definitely sage advice.

Top Ten Tips

1. Never ever ask when the book will be published.

2. Do not ask a writer if they wished they’d written the latest best seller.

3. Never say you’re writing a book. Never ever say you’d also write a book if you only had the time.

4. Don’t call the police if you happen to see a writer’s browsing history. The average writer is not planning to poison you, hire a hit man, or move to Afghanistan. It’s simply research.

5. Leave the writer alone when the writer is actually writing. You have no idea how difficult it is to enter the zone.

6. Don’t pick unfair fights with a writer. Writers do get their revenge in print.

7. If you do want to fight, make it memorable. The writer is always looking for material.

8. If your writer wanders off to a party, don’t panic. Writers love to inspect the host’s bookshelves and medicine cabinets.

9. Buy your writer notebooks and cute pens as gifts. Do not buy flowers. Chocolate is also acceptable.

10. Leave your writer alone when a rejection letter arrives. After the deadly silence, screaming, crying, moaning have subsided, offer your writer a cup of coffee or tea. And a cupcake. Add a huge hug.

Anyone care to add to the list?

Here’s my addition:

11. When your writer is sobbing at the keyboard and staring at a blank screen, bring one bottle of wine (glass optional) and quietly leave without comment.

 

 

28th Annual May Festival of the Arts

Mayfest2015EurekaSprings

It’s that time of year once again when my all-time favorite little town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas hosts their May Festival of the Arts.

Art is alive in Eureka Springs!  Tucked in the mountains, surrounded by lakes, rivers, streams, and natural healing springs, authentic creative spirits run rampant through the village. Come visit and soak in an art happening that can’tbe found anywhere else.

As many of you may know, in a previous life—before I took up writing and procrastination as serious endeavors—I had a twenty-year career as an artist. One of my favorite art venues is right here in Eureka Springs where you will find over 300 artists working in every medium imaginable. It is a beautiful, happening place if you are into the creative art vibe and they put it all on display in the month of May.

The 28th Annual May Festival of the Arts is packed with one-of-a-kind art exhibits, demonstrations, performances, culinary arts, free music in the park, and the wildest street party thrown by artists – The White Street Walk.

If only I had a dollar for every step I’ve ever taken touring and enjoying this beautiful place. I highly recommend a visit.

You can find more information here at the Eureka Springs Visitor Blog.

Mayfest2015HistoricalMuseum