Sunday, May 31, 2015



On a sun-scattered Monday morning I face the blank page, first in a string of Mondays since last settling at my computer poised with the intention to write. Like a concert pianist I stretch my fingers and place them upon the keys; then I conjure the mantra I love the process! all the while reminding myself that a non-outcome for my effort is better than no effort at all.

Being in the midst of a dry spell is no picnic for an author. It's the last place I expect to find myself, dragging my heels through the parched, white metaphoric desert sand. While I experience this slump (aka period of rejuvenation) here are a few activities I purposely engage in to keep my writing fresh. I've discovered that writing isn't always about filling the blank page; the blessing is to find joy in the little things.

1) Never underestimate the power of an email! It's an opportunity to express yourself with an economy of words. Consider emails to be an exercise in effective communication. To compose a clear and concise email is good practice, while proofreading and editing will hone your writing skills.

2) Posting to social media is not considered writing (or is it?) If you are an author and have a Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or blog, your posts are a potential reader's first exposure to your style. So take pride in what you post. Consider it an opportunity to make a difference, provoke a thought, or gain a new admirer.

3) If you're able to express yourself creatively, chances are you're able to express yourself through other channels, too. Photography is one of my favorite means of expression. Lately, I've also delved into the abundantly rich world of anything-goes mixed-media collage where the possibilities are endless and no rules apply. The rebel in me loves it. The author in me rejoices in its tactile simplicity. To wile away the hours cutting, pasting, and arranging rather than tapping away at a keyboard is a breath of fresh air.

So if you find your words have become a tremendous jumble (think: twisted ball of twine), do not despair! Every day I tug at the knots, and little by little I've begun to unravel the mess. When the time is right, there will be one continuous thread. And that thread will have amazing stories to tell.

Friday, May 1, 2015



I remember catching the spark from Madeleine L'Engle.  Madeleine L'ENGLE had just published  A Wrinkle  in Time in 1962.  I read it in 1966.  I related to the adventurous girl in the story. I was an adventurous  12 year  old.  I explored the land around my house and  imagined monsters in creeks, mysterious  strangers in abandoned cabins, and hideouts in trees.

But it was more than an adventure story.  A Wrinkle In Time,  gave 12 year old me permission to experience the deeply profound issues that swirled around me as I entered the bigger world.    I still remembers her chilling portayal of conformity:

"As the skipping rope hit the pavement, so did the ball. As the rope curved over the head of the jumping child, the child with the ball caught the ball. Down came the ropes. Down came the balls. Over and over again. Up. Down. All in rhythm. All identical. Like the houses. Like the paths. Like the flowers."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

Her  advice on writing resonates with me today: "You are given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you."  

Thank you Madeleine L'Engle for sharing your imagination and insights with an adventurous twelve year old girl. I will always be grateful.