A LITTLE RATTLED

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Do you ever get ‘a little rattled?’ This has been my theme song for the past few weeks. Here I am retired and realize I did a lot better when my mind was full of stuff. My writings have fallen way behind and as I try to catch up everything comes out scrambled.

What I know, is we are getting some much-needed rain. Of course, the sun has to hide for all of this to happen, but our grass, trees need the rain and it also helps wash away the pollen. I sent out a small note to friends in the flood and tornado areas. Heard back from most of them. Small increases in rivers, soggy, but safe.

We have lots of vegetables around our area and you cannot beat the home-grown flavors. I love to go to a farmer’s market and listen to all the different conversations. No, I do not know what all is being said, but they are so proud to show you their products. I ask a lot of questions about what it is, how to cook their products and eyes sparkle. Usually, there is someone close by who can translate for both of us.

Our swimming pool opened up just in time for all the rain. We have to wait until we get certified by the city to open up and everyone is holding their breath as Memorial Day Weekend is close by and this is our start of the summer.

A few days ago, after a quick rain shower, I looked out the window and saw a beautiful rainbow stretched across the sky. It looked like it went on for miles and miles and I wondered about the ‘pot of gold’ at the end.  So, I took a short walk and noticed the rainbow had no beginning and no ending. It just appeared and when the sun came out, the colors were brilliant. It was like the pot of gold was close, but untouchable. Clouds started to return and I did not have time to search further, but one can always dream about their ‘pot of gold.’ Now, it is your turn…”What would you do with a huge pot of gold?”

 Please take a few moments, think, and let me know your thoughts on this question. There is no right or wrong answer, and I’ll plug them in my next blog or two. No names will be attached, but it would make A WONDERFUL BLOG.  This way you would get to give your answers, read other answers, and then we can take it from there and start a new blog with your questions and answers. SO….keep this going as we continue forward.

I love to touch base with all of you, as your input is important to me.  And, I am looking forward to all of your answers to OUR blog, Chasing the Rainbow, for the next few weeks.

Stay close and help me and other readers to share their ‘Pot of Gold’ dreams.

 

Patriciachats

 

WILD WEDNESDAYS

When I started to blog, I gave myself a list of ideas to jump-start my creative side. Sometimes, it is hard to look at a blank screen and come up with all the ideas you’ll ever need. Okay, some of you can, but not this writer. I need a little shove in the imagination, better yet, a big push or all you’d ever see is pictured below:  the tools, a blank piece of paper, and no words. So, decided on a few titles and since Wednesday is the middle of the week, known as HUMP DAY, thought why not make it a “wild” day. Anything can happen and I let my imagination run wild. So far, I’m still at the beginning of the race, but there is a lot of open space to cover.

Here’s a question for all of you…..What would you do with all this white space? Gotcha thinking, right?  Don’t stop, keep those thoughts and gather more as you stare at the blank screen. Hold on…I see a tall guy walking my way, kinda like the “Marlboro” Man, but he walks past me and may be on his way to see you. Shot down before I begin, but the picture stays in my mind. This is beginning to paint a romantic notion on the lenses behind my eyelids.

No. Yes. He is turning back towards me. Hey, its Wild Wednesday and my day for fun, frolic, fantasies. I watch him on his horse galloping in my direction, he reaches down swoops me into his arms, and I am now sharing the saddle with him. I look down at the ground, dirt being kicked up by the hooves of the horse, and I can’t keep my breakfast in side.  Oops! So much for fantasies. Lesson – never fantasize on a full stomach. Down I slide to the ground and the man and horse ride over a hill.

It’s still Wednesday Lots of wild ideas are continuing to roam in my head. Not only is it Wednesday, it is winter and snow covers the ground. I can’t remember the last time I was on a sled. No, not the kind behind horses, but the kind where you are on your stomach and can guide the contraption with the small handles. At least the hill is not high and the ground close, so here I go. First time down was a blast, walking back up the hill with the sled was not a blast. Still, the top of the hill in view, the excitement of sliding down again was worth the climb. I’m back on my stomach, the small handles in my hands, and my confidence up. This time, I push forward as I get on and the sled and snow connect. I am going faster and faster and cannot remember how to apply the brakes. I pull the handles and nothing happens. I push the handles and nothing happens. The downward speed picks up and I whiz by in the emptiness of the snow-covered hill until an evergreen tree appears out of nowhere. Yeah, we connect. At least it was a small evergreen tree, kinda like a table top Christmas Tree. I fall off the sled and land in the cold, wet snow just in time to see “Marlboro” Man ride up beside me.

Without speaking, I find myself back in the saddle beside him and I make a promise to keep my mouth closed. Of course, I did not and asked him about the sled. “We’ll climb back and get it.” Short answer. At the bottom of the hill, he got out of the saddle and the horse took off toward the barn. No brakes on this animal, but I wrap my hands in the silky mane and pull back. Maybe too hard, as he comes to a full stop and I slide out of the saddle, and to the ground. Then the horse lowers his head and pushes me to the side,  before heading into the barn.

Okay, this Wild Wednesday is finished and I never even got a hug from the tall stranger. But, I did learn. . . I am not one for the winter, outdoors, and animals, both beast and man. Maybe next Wednesday will be the ‘wild one’ for me.

Let me hear from you about any of your Wild Wednesdays.

images_120Keep Writing.

WELCOME TO THE NEW YEAR

I don’t know about all of you, but this past year was full of surprises that crossed different avenues for me. I RETIRED!!! Never thought I’d give up my Silver Sneakers(R) Exercise Group, but after eight years, needed to let go and give the group some new instructors and new choices. They are still in full force and have added new members. Sometimes, it is the right thing to do and help the members grow and learn new moves/exercises.

Thought, this would give me an opportunity to dig further into my writing, which I have done, just not as much as I wanted to accomplish. The ideas are there and my fingers try to hit the ‘write’ keys. Some days are better than others.

Been hitting our little library a lot and going back over some of the old books again. Got interested in reading the classics and older books. Jeffery Archer had a new book out, “This Was A Man,” and I could not just get this without going back over his other novels. It was the seventh book in a series and I needed the background information. Still working my way through the series.

We had our annual meeting and good attendance. Found out our CMA, Office Manager, is being transferred to a new property and we have a new CMA coming in to keep our place in order. Will not know for a while, as he starts this coming week. New opportunities, I hope.

I find myself at ends, but not for long. It takes a while to wind down after working all your life and at times two jobs. Still, I find new avenues to travel and include my writing. I am thinking of doing some volunteer work with The Atlanta Humane Society. Since we have a “NO PET” rule at our Condo, figured this would give me something new to volunteer and give myself a pet for a while. I’d been there to an open house months ago, but couldn’t work and do this type of volunteering. I’ll let you know how this goes.

I had a quiet New Year Eve celebration and watch all the crowds gather at Underground Atlanta for the annual Peach Drop. It was cold, windy, and a little of the sprinkles falling down. NO, not the white kind that stick, only the wet, uncomfortable drizzle. Then learned this would be the last Peach Drop at Underground. Guess it has been sold, so have no idea where or what will happen–upset a lot of attendees.

My wish for you this new 2017 is to be happy and share your happy thoughts with friends, neighbors, and yes, even strangers. Be Inquisitive. Be Inspired. Be Kind.

I’ll see you in a week or so. Until then, keep yourselves busy and have fun.

PATRICIA

WE NEEDED TO CHECK OUT THESE WRITING RETREATS

ImageWe weren’t invited, but here we are again. I watched as you gathered for your first retreat as a group and noticed – hey we are all together in our age areas. This is great and maye we can add a point or two.

We like the idea of spontaneous visits to a country when you do your writing and critiquing. Sure everyone wants to write, but don’t you want to hear the stories too? Maybe you should add – WRITING AND CRITIQE RETREATS. OOPS, here we go opening our mouths. SHH.

The evening begins and the hostess has set up a Paris writing place. Music fills the air, the wine is cool, the coffee aromas penetrate the small room, and the table is a small iron circle with small chairs. You feel like you are in a sidewalk cafe in Paris. Your hostess has pictures of her trip to France all over her small room and gives a snippet of information about each one.

Then down to work writing and getting the next few pages written or revised. We stand outside and listen. Nothing but the sound of fingers on laptops and no talking. There is something missing – conversation. An evening of writing with your friends satisfies the soul, but what about the quality of writing. We knock and ask if we could observe this Paris scene.

Observe doesn’t happen; instead we begin asking if anyone would read their written words.Startled, the writing stops. “Why?” one lady asked. “We are here to write.”

“But, wouldn’t it be nice if you could hear comments and get new ideas? Sometimes, we need to see our writing and our story from another person’s view point. If you get stuck on a scene, a character’s attitude, or another character wants to take over, wouldn’t this be the best place to hatch out a new angle?

“When you read out loud, you might hear your story in a different tone and is there any conflict there? Or, are there too many conflicts? Do you know where you are going with your story? Is the plot clear and did you start at just the right place?”

We get stares. “We’re sorry for the intrusion,” and stand up to leave.

“Wait,” the hostess hollers at us. “We never thought about all of these questions when we worked together. We are not a group of ‘young chicks,’ and maybe you could help. Would you stay for a while?”

Of course, my friend and I could not resist. Two hours later, a lot of discussion went around the small room: writing, exercises for characters, subplots, and names of characters. “When your ages creeps upward, viewpoints of life change, and yes, we all know a lot more about life than the younger ladies. This is what makes your coming of age novels different than your characters who have faced life, death, loneliness, and still want the passion, tender moments, and love.”

“Just remember, you are here to help each other make their writing the best it can be. Always be polite and critique the writing, not the writer.”

As the hour got later, the women moaned about the workload facing them tomorrow.

“No, what you had this evening was a blessing. Tomorrow is an opportunity to encounter what your character may face. Do this as a challenge and let your writing show your fortitude. Hey, we all can’t fit the same mold, thank heavens.”

“Uhh,” one lady responded. “Would you be able to join us next time at my home?”

The other ladies responded, “please?” One lady in particular extended her hands toward both of us. “I noticed my writing was for the younger generation, and it’s been quite a while since I looked back. I think my rewrite will be in a era all of us know, and this is exciting.”

Since, it is not polite to refuse, my friend and I agreed, keeping the excitement hidden under our coats as we left. “Next time.” Our mission instead of being accomplished, was just beginning. “We’ve got a lot of work to do,” and realized we’d said the same thing at the same time. Hey, what are friends for, if not for a friend.

CRITIQUE GROUPS – ARE THEY FOR YOU?

9776003-audienceWe have all heard horror stories about critique groups, and there are some difficult groups out there. Yet, critique groups exist and thrive. Why? As writers, we need feedback on our work from other writers. Family and friends are not a true test of our writing.

Check libraries, other writers, writer groups and online for groups in your genre. It is a good idea to stick within your genre. If you write fiction, stay with fiction; if you write romance, then find all genres of romance. One is sure to be your match. Some genres cross over, especially in the YA groups. Mystery writers have their own groups, which include thrillers, spy and espionage. Non-fiction groups deal with more facts than fiction. As a fiction writer may feel out of place dealing with facts rather than raw imagination.

If you have long work hours, a weekly group might present a problem. Try a small group, 5-6 writers. Then everyone can be critiqued each time. A monthly group might be too far between reads. Remember, if you are in a large group, you may not get your story critiqued every time. Do not hesitate to ask about their processes. Online groups may fit your work and writing schedules, but there obstacles you must address. These include not seeing the people in the group. How do you know if anyone has published or is this their first attempt at writing. You need to ask the right questions at the beginning.

These are choices you, as a writer, have to decide. There is no right or wrong decision. You may have to try several groups and do not hesitate to try many. This is your writing and you want peers of the same genre to assist.

Once you find your critique group, your writing will improve. Also, in critiquing another person’s work, you are in a learning process. Try a group out. You just might find the ONE group for you. Or, there could be three of you that form a good fit, as long as you take these critiques in a professional manner.

Let me hear from you about your process for finding your group. I’d love to get your point of view on critique groups.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will discuss Rules of Critiquing and Rules for Being Critiqued.

Happy Hunting.