A Peek Through the Keyhole…

The Versatile Blogger badge

Not so long ago I came across a ribbon I’d won a bazillion years ago on Field Day when I was in Jr High. It’s a yellow ribbon, which means I won FIFTH place competing in a sport that I obviously wasn’t very good at. I can only imagine I kept this not so impressive reminder because I love the color yellow. Or I’m a masochist.  Or maybe I thought if I kept it pressed in a book long enough it would eventually turn blue.  It didn’t.

I hope this means I’m not much of a sore loser. That while I might aspire for FIRST,  I can still appreciate FIFTH, (even as I hope that when we “go to the video tape” it will show that I actually won by a toe, and that fifth place straggler was just some limp-along wearing similar gym shorts.)

Winning isn’t essential, it isn’t the be-all-end-all, but still, it’s nice. Really nice.

Nice in a way that makes your cheeks glow, your eyes shine, and your head lift swell  when one of your VERY favorite bloggers nominates you for the coveted *Versatile Blogger Award*.  Uh hum, that would be correct. I’m talking about Elaine Smothers at Wonder in the Wild. If you haven’t been over to Elaine’s place, you must take the fastest train, plane, or automobile and get on over there. Or you can always  just click on the handy dandy link here 🙂  Because once you meet Elaine and Forrest you’ll want to pull up a chair and just stay a while.

I thank you, Elaine, most humbly and appreciatively for this Blue Ribbon Honor. Honestly, but my heart is shining– full to bursting.

And now for the fine print, as there are certain rules one must follow to accept the nomination.

  • Thank the person who gave you the award and link to their blog. Check
  • Select 15 blogs you follow and enjoy, and nominate them for the award. Ouch! Was that a brick wall I just hit?  Well this is definitely a glitch, since I happen to know from my position as one of the last kid lumbering onto the bus, that by now you’ve all beat me to the podium and been nominated and re-nominated. 
  • Share 7 random things about yourself. Ha! Got this one! I am the Queen of Random! Random is easy. (Though, making sense? Having a point? Not so much.)

1. As a teenager I was wildly, madly, passionately in love with Robert Redford. My good friend Tina gifted me with a FULL LENGTH poster of my golden heartthrob that hung on the wall across from my bed assuring his was the first and last face I saw every morning and night for YEARS.

And all is blissful and flowery for someone so willing to pretend crush, destroy, lock in the vault away the rather disturbing fact that this magnificent specimen is in reality THE VERY SAME AGE AS MY DAD!

2. I love clothes. Vintage, classic, funky bohemian…love my glad rags!  And I compulsively clean out my closets (Yes, that’s correct, multiple closets, since one clearly won’t do the job,) in order to keep my threads tidy and organized.  Occasional writers block even allows me time now and again to color coordinate said garments 😀

3. Despite having multiple collections of stuff: Depression glass, vintage clothes, old jewelry, garden sculpture, typewriters, pens, etc…. I HATE clutter and disorganization, which means continuous sorting, arranging, removal. (Yes, I know, “Sick minds….”)

4. My family doesn’t think I know that they have not so discreetly nicknamed me The Food Nazi.

I care deeply am obsessed with all the crappy worthless garbage being passed as nutrition on the grocery shelves and dished up in our homes.  That’s not so say I never eat a Hershey bar, but I have this idea that if I treat my body really well and fill with High Test Fuel on a regular basis, it will return the favor by hauling me around in relative comfort until “Day is done.”

5. Despite multiple knee-scraping, butt bruising, embarrassing crash and burn, dirt eating wipe-outs over a span of months, I can now cruise around on my in-line-skates without mishap. And this makes me happy. Really really happy. Not only because I have mostly conquered my anxiety of broken bones and road burn, but I’ve again verified to myself that I’m not a quitter very sensible.

6. I think Zombies are stupid.

7.  Even when it makes no logical sense to keep standing on the tracks when I see the train hurtling toward me at an alarming speed, I remain wildly optimistic and hopeful that it will derail before impact. Pessimism annoys me probably as much as I annoy most pessimists.

You may now sigh with relief that this ever fabulous nomination only requires 7 random facts about moi.  But now it’s your turn. Care to share your own random fact?  We’d all love a glimpse behind your shades. So kindly do share 😀

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MY MIND ON A SHELF

“These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but MINDS alive on the shelves”

Gilbert Highet 1906-1978
Teacher & Scholar

I am not familiar with Gilbert Highet, but his words are immortalized on a bronze plaque outside the public library in Baltimore Maryland.  I’ve read and reread this single line  inasmuch as it speaks volumes to my writers heart, particularly when I am struggling to compose that perfect sentence or Frankenstein design the endearing or imperfect character persistently struggling to stear me into their story. Despite all there years of writing, the actual process is something I find impossible to explain let alone understand. Somehow, to say that it “just happens” comes across as something of an insincere cop-out, and yet that’s pretty much the truth as it applies to my own experience with words.

Which isn’t to say that it’s easy.

It sometimes never happens that a perfect chorus of words will tango across the page with the poise and grace of a winning contestant on Dancing with the Stars.  Yet just as often, it’s a matter of strapping on a headlamp and heading in to excavate  the treasure that’s right over there behind that mammoth pile of boulders.  And you keep at it with heart and diligence, until all at once–total darkness–the vivid path of illumination unceremoniously extinguished when the bulb burns out.

FORK IN THE ROAD PIE

Even then you can’t allow yourself to cave to temporary obstacles or turn-tail from the illusion of a bottomless crevasse. Okay, so take a moment to hoist the white flag and head to the kitchen for a medicinal slice of conciliatory pie (although you’ve been writing  not baking, so it’s likely there is no pie.), but only a moment.   You’ve learned the essential importance of holding on by now. Your creative mind hasn’t taken a powder, left the building, or fallen into something scary and bottomless.  You know that if you stay in your chair, even if only to doodle in the margins, the tiniest speck of an idea will spark and then somehow–whether consciously fueled or not–will quaver and persistently swell to rekindle the fire. And I am never anything less than awed and amazed when the dust of creativity finally settles and a finished manuscript rests in my hands.  Not that I understand how it works.  I just know it does, not easily, but it does.

THE END (NOT!)

It takes me at least a year forever  to finish the first draft of a novel– not a 700 page Stephen King size tome, but compositions half their size,  between 350-375 pages. Then comes the editing–another year of rewriting, rewriting, disgust, agony, despair…and only then does it begin to look like something connected to the vision that first caught my attentions. I marvel over writers who produce a masterpiece in the space of a few months–or incredibly, weeks. How that works I can’t imagine.  I can only assume it”s because my mind is set at 33 where others are steady at 78.

Still, I’ve come to accept bemoan my slower pace as necessary for me. I am after all an obsessive compulsive editing machine. I hack, slash, and burn until I can see the words coming to life and feel my characters breathing on the page, and for me that takes some time.  The reward for my efforts, a cross-my-fingers-confidence that my work is pruned, polished and ready to stand right up there in the shadow of the big boys.

Except when it’s not.  And editing resumes.  Because it is my mind after all–quiet, hopeful, earnest–there on the shelf.  My story. My characters. My truth. Me.

I’ve always had something of a problem with the adage that so often accompanies rejection or bad reviews.  I assume it’s intended to soften the blow: “It’s not you that being rejected or disliked torn asunder by the roots, just your writing.”  Agree? Can/do you separate your personal self from your words?