I’m proud to say, “I am a writer.”

I subscribe to Joe Bunting’s The Write Practice. He sends me an email everyday on some facet of writing. Today’s was particularly relevant to me since he encouraged his readers to: “Be brave. Be bold. Claim your title. Say it with me: ‘I am a writer.’” That’s what I did yesterday while Stewart at the Apple store was helping me set up my new iPhone. When Stewart asked what I did, without hesitation I told him, “I am a writer.” And he wanted to know immediately what I write. It turns out that I’m still in my poetry practice phase, so I told him I’ve been getting back on my writing feet by writing two or three poems a day using prompts I get online. However, I also shared that I have a published memoir out, Leaving the Hall Light On, and I’m working on a novel. At that point I gave him my author business card. With that he shared with me that he has a degree in creative writing from a local university. And you guessed it. We were off and running. Within our twenty-thirty minute … [Read more...]

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Joe Bunting’s favorite writing quotes

I love Joe Bunting's blog The Write Practice. I read it everyday and I save every post in their own folder with my other saved emails. I also love to collect quotes myself, so Joe's piece on December 19, 2014 absolutely resonated with me. Please note that I attribute the following quotes about writing to Joe's blog The Write Practice. Joe says: "Some of these quotes, I’ve been collecting for years, others I found only recently, but all of them speak to universal truths about why people become writers and how to become a writer. I hope you enjoy the quotes as much as I enjoyed discovering them. I hope you'll find some value in them as I did." Please click on his blog to read more of his thoughts about writing and what these quotes mean for writers.   And finally a quote by Joe Bunting: … [Read more...]

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More writing quotes

I've said before that I collect quotes, and I've  posted writing quotes on Choices many times. Well, I just came across a list of seventy-two more that I have saved in my Documents Folder for the last couple of years. I'll share some with you now and more later in the year. I don't want to bore you if you're not into this as much as I am. By the way, some of these authors are unknown to me. I think it might be a good idea to get to know about them, so I've marked those with an asterisk (*). I'd love to know what you know about them. “The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” —Philip Roth “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” —Stephen King “Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactu … [Read more...]

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Five reasons to be in a writing group

I joined a writing group a couple of years ago. It’s called The Last Sunday Writers because we usually meet the last Sunday of the month. Today’s meeting was cancelled because of lack of a quorum. Only two of us plus our leader planned to attend, and we weren’t prepared to read this month. So what’s the point? I usually want to read at the meetings, but I’m still a little traumatized from the feedback from my novel beta readers. I need to give putting myself out there a rest for a while. However, I’m very glad I was invited to join. I had known several people in the group because we attended workshops together. Or if we hadn’t met before we had worked with the some of the same writing instructors in the past. So we are a well-knit group with similar goals: continue to write, get feedback from our fellow writers, and network. Five things I like about being in a writing group are: It encourages me to prepare a piece for review once a month: this can be a new essay, story, poem, art … [Read more...]

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How to survive a relationship with a writer

The singer and writer Janis Ian, famous when I was a teenager for her song, "At Seventeen," posted these top ten tips, and my friend Marla Miller shared them with her Facebook friends. I had to share as well. Actually,  my husband seems to be surviving very well. He's gotten used to me going into my office and spending most of the day there. However, once in a while he'll stand quietly at my door - I usually leave it open, rap lightly with his knuckles and say, "Knock,knock." Sure it's disturbing - I'm probably in mid sentence, it gets me out of my zone, but it usually happens just at the time I need to take a break. Plus it's nice to see him once in a while during the day. Here's the Top Ten Tips   … [Read more...]

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Introducing my new writing friend, Deborah Kalan

Deborah and I met in Pilates class. We never said more than hello for about six months until one day I mentioned I had to rush away after class because I had a lot of work to do. She asked what I did, and when I said I am a writer, her eyes lit up. She said, “I’m a writer too.” And our friendship was off and running. I’ve read a lot of her stories, and I totally agree. She is a writer. I’m so happy to introduce her work to you. My Writing Life By Deborah Kalan I have been writing seriously since my eleventh birthday when I received a leatherette diary the color of blue Irises. The diary was secured with a little strap that had a gold lock and two gold keys. On the front of it were the words “Dear Diary.” Each page was divided into five sections of about five lines, which in my 11-year-old mind, restricted me to extremely brief entries. In those days, I mostly wrote about boys. The cute ones, the creepy ones, the ones that liked me, the ones that I liked who didn’t like me. … [Read more...]

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Please meet Kathleen Pooler

I’m so happy to introduce my guest today, Kathleen Pooler. Her discussion of the sensory details needed to bring readers into our scenes is spot on. Please click on all the links Kathy provides for very powerful examples. The Power of Sensory Details in Memoir Writing by Kathleen Pooler "Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." William Wordsworth It's a well-known expectation in writing circles that the key to a compelling read is to use the five senses – sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste – to invite the reader into the scene. What better way to evoke emotions than to enable the reader to see the setting sun behind the snow-laced trees or to see a character's facial expression and the color of his eyes, to hear the calmness in his voice, to feel the softness of his skin, to smell the aroma of baking bread then to taste the steaming bread as the butter melts into it... When I have an idea for a story, I'll admit, I begin recounting the scene as I remem … [Read more...]

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Ruby Sparks, a writer’s film

Zoe Kazan’s script for the new film Ruby Sparks touches on subjects I as a writer think a lot about – writer’s block and the power of artistic creation. Although I haven’t had a real bout of writer’s block, I wonder when and if it will hit. And now that I’m writing my first novel, I marvel at how my characters seem to take over the page – that my fingers are just vehicles for the words that come out of their mouths. Kazan’s take is different. Her main character in the film, a once very successful writer, ends his writer’s block by creating a character that comes to him in his dream. He falls in love with her and then wakes up one morning and finds her real, in his house, making breakfast for him. I won’t spoil what’s to come, but I highly recommend my writer friends especially see this film. Kazan also plays the main character, Ruby, along side, Paul Dano’s portrayal of the writer, Calvin. Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas, and Elliott Gould are also memorable. Here’s the traile … [Read more...]

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Another book launch – oh my!

I now have a paperback edition of my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, in my hands. It just arrived. Getting it to this point has taken just short of three months, but well worth the time and effort. The edition looks great. I decided to keep the same cover design because it has been my brand for the last year. I felt changing it could be confusing to my followers and even to me. Plus I love the front cover photo, taken by my young girl friend, Madison Poulter, whom I’ve known since she was eighteen months old. Can’t believe she’s off to Lewis and Clark College in the fall. So both my publisher, Mike O’Mary at Dream of Things and I have been doing a lot of planning to get ready for the launch. Mike made an excel spreadsheet with activities to accomplish between now and January. Here are some of the things we’re doing right now: I’ve communicated with friends and family about the launch and asked them to write a review and post it on Amazon if they’ve already read the … [Read more...]

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Introducing Daisy Hickman of SunnyRoomStudio

It's gray outside and just beginning to drizzle - wouldn't you know I just had my car washed? So it is a perfect day to have Daisy Hickman and her sunny spirit as guest here on Choices. She has brought along a beautiful bouquet of peonies to illustrate her words. How does she know peonies were my favorite flowers as I was growing up in the midwest? Unfortunately they are unable to grow where I live now in Southern California. This summer Daisy has concentrated her blog posts at SunnyRoomStudio on ways to slow down during our year's warmest months. Here are just a few that she listed last week: Nurture your creative side. Read some poetry. Write a letter. Take a walk. Create a new recipe. Read a short story. Allow yourself time to connect with nature. Call an old friend. Sleep in. Create spiritual space with time for silence. Couldn't we all participate in those not only during the summer but as a lifetime habit? I'm pleased to introduce Daisy and her … [Read more...]

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What’s happening this week

Whew! It’s been a long and hard three months – actually two weeks short of three months – but well worth the effort. After Lucky Press went out of business on April 30, I was fortunate to find a new and most wonderful new publisher Dream of Things in record time. Since then – about the early part of June – we have been working at getting the book and all the ancillary products ready to go. I think when this Friday comes along, when I’ll have a new paperback edition and updated bookmarks in hand, I’ll breathe a big sign of relief. They will be ready just in time for my book selling opportunities over the weekend and next week at the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference where I’m participating on two panels and during my annual poetry workshop and retreat at Esalen, Big Sur California. What great timing for a stay at Esalen! It’s a perfect place to unwind. Because I know how tired you must be at hearing all of this stuff since April 30, I’m bringing a real breath of fresh air to C … [Read more...]

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My writer’s life – lots of action these days

Here’s a little run-down of what’s been happening in my life as a writer in the last few weeks. My second piece for Naturally Savvy went live this week, http://www.naturallysavvy.com/inspiration-and-motivation/fitness-over-60-and-counting, an interview about a woman I’ve known for lots of years, Becky Neumann. I wanted to profile her because as an over sixty personal trainer and fitness instructor, she’s so fit and so inspiring to people over sixty and way beyond. Becky - Sixty-three and Counting I was asked and so I wrote another column for Huffington Post’s subvertical, Aging Gracefully, but I haven’t heard back yet from my contact there. My last piece for Huffington Post was for the That’s Fit subvertical – that turned out to be quite well received. So even though I’m a little nervous about not hearing I’ll be positive based on the response I got about the That’s Fit piece I did for them. I’d very much like to keep up my relationship with Huff Post. And as a result of my W … [Read more...]

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The women in my life (and a few good men) – Part 6

Teachers, Writing Coaches, Mentors I must first mention a few school teachers. They are: Mr. E. who made me love writing so much that right there in his 7th grade class I decided I wanted to study journalism (and I actually did); Mrs. R. who instilled in me the importance of reading and looking deep within the words for their meaning; and of course Dr. RRB, my high school journalism teacher and our high school newspaper advisor, who is still in my life today. He taught me to ask the hard questions and to be persistent in getting the answers. He also was a stickler for accuracy and meticulousness – traits very much within me now. Those people were the precursors. Now for those who have had the most influence on my present-day writing. Ellen – I don’t know what initially drew me to Ellen in the mid 90s. Perhaps it was the title of her workshop, “Writing About Our Lives,” and that she was holding that workshop at Esalen in Big Sur – one of my favorite places on earth. But, as soon … [Read more...]

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UCLA Writers’ Workshop

No, I haven't been slacking off. I've been writing, writing, writing all this past weekend -- Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday -- at the UCLA Extension Writers' Workshop. It was exhausting but worth it. I got a lot of good feedback on my memoir and my pitch letter, and I met some wonderful and talented writers in the process. Barbara Abercrombie, the instructor, asked us to do several 5-minute writing exercises. Here are a few samples. The titles in bold were the assigned topics. Habit Okay, maybe it’s a habit or maybe an obsession. But, it doesn’t matter. I do it. I do it everyday. When the radio alarm starts playing some piece of classical music I get up in the dark – not even stopping to think maybe I’ll sleep in this morning – and turn off the alarm, go into the bathroom, turn on the light, and begin to get ready to go to the gym. I never lay out my gym clothes the night before. No. I move back into the bedroom and slowly open the armoire doors and pull open the drawers … [Read more...]

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Book report

Well, I finally finished reading “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle,” and was I disappointed! It’s a story about a boy and a dog – actually a lot of dogs – that has an ending that absolutely doesn’t make sense. Someone mentioned it was a takeoff on “Hamlet” in a review. Okay, that must be why so many folks died in the end – both good and bad – except the poor mother. One has to believe that she couldn’t have survived past the last page anyway, so she might as well have been killed off before the end too. There was real evil in that book along with supernatural beings and ghosts. The human characters were less developed than the dog characters, and the reason for the murders was never really explained. I guess one brother was out to get the other and anything that came between him and his brother’s wife and business – like the son and the friendly old vet – were targets as well. I just smacked that book on the table when I finished it angry at myself for wasting so much time reading it. … [Read more...]

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About friends

One of my favorite writing friends sent me this poem. I don't know who the author is, but it definitely resonates with how I live my life -- friends for all occasions and interests with some fitting the bill for multiple roles, others for only one. It's all good. Girls in My Circle When I was little, I used to believe in the concept of one best friend, And then I started to become a woman. And then I found out that if you allow your heart to open up, God would show you the best in many friends. One friend is needed when you're going through things with your man. Another friend is needed when you're going through things with your mom. Another will sit beside you in the bleachers as you delight in your >children and their activities. Another when you want to shop, share, heal, hurt, joke, or just be. One friend will say, 'Let's cry together,' Another , 'Let's fight together,' Another , 'Let's walk away together.' One friend will meet your spiritual … [Read more...]

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A day of writer’s woes

Yesterday could be called a writer’s day of hell. I was so optimistic when it started – raring to get going on my to do list, and by the time it was over I felt like I never wanted to write another word again. I started out by sending four emails to people I thought could help me find an agent for my memoir – three former teachers and a friend who’s published quite a bit. I heard from two of teachers almost immediately. One said she couldn’t recommend an agent because the five she’s sent her new memoir to have all turned it down. An ominous sign I must say. The second responder who has always been so helpful in the past has gone so far up the food chain in the business of books that he couldn’t recommend without a conflict of interest. The other two haven’t responded yet. Then I decided to get some poems ready for a chapbook submission. I chose Pudding House recommended by my cousin, Larry. What was intriguing about this group is they accept submissions all the time and usually re … [Read more...]

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I keep thinking….

I keep thinking about the conversation I had with my friends at book club last night. They are about my age – maybe a few years younger – and both are professional hard working women – one a doctor and one a writer. And both don’t want to stop working. In fact, they are looking for future careers if they do retire from their current work. Like me they are afraid if they stop they will fall apart – emotionally, intellectually, physically. I know that working every day, getting up to exercise, getting ready for work with the makeup and the hair straightener and the Maxmara suits, then working with hordes of people, and continually making decision after decision keeps me young and with it. It keeps me up not only on the technology involved with my job but with what’s going on around me in my town, my state, my country, my world. I listen to the news on the way to work, I read my New Yorker or listen to the news at the gym, I talk to people about music and the movies and what’s the best pla … [Read more...]

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