Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

“Oh, I want what we all want: a comfortable couch, a nice beverage, a weekend of no distractions, a book that will stop time, lift me out of my quotidian existence and alter my thinking forever.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

There's noting better than a nice walk through a scenic landscape, such as this boardwalk loop at Point Pelee National Park in Canada. Some of my best ideas come to me on such walks. --  Photo by Pat Bean

There’s noting better than a nice walk through a scenic landscape, such as this boardwalk loop at Point Pelee National Park in Canada. Some of my best ideas come to me on such walks. — Photo by Pat Bean

Or Perspiration?

            I’m always being asked where I get my blogging ideas. A good answer would be everywhere.

Or how about this boardwalk trail outside of Galveston. It, too, would make for a good idea walk. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Or how about this boardwalk trail outside of Galveston. It, too, would make for a good idea walk. — Photo by Pat Bean

But I have noticed that they mostly come when I’m sitting still, perhaps drinking my morning coffee on my balcony, staring out at Mount Lemmon as the day comes to life, or when I’m soaking in my bathtub, thinking of nothing much but shaving my legs.

I also get ideas in my dreams at night – but unless I write these down immediately, they disappear before I sit down to drink that first cup of coffee.

The funny thing is that when I do sit down in front of my computer – the perspiration of writing – to put an idea into words, it’s not unusual for a slew of other ideas, usually better ones, to take over my writing fingers.

So I guess the best answer to where my ideas come from is my butt – when it sits itself down to write. I guess that’s why “Butt to Chair” is the No. 1 writing tip of all times.          

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

  Bean Pat: Zen Pencils http://tinyurl.com/mq5lqdp  Funny cartoon with great message. I loved it.

Read Full Post »

            “I love playing. The keyboard is my journal” – Pharrell Williams

            “I think the word ‘blog’ is an ugly word. I just don’t know why people can’t use the word ‘journal.’” — Moby

Should I write about the butterflies I saw at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix for my blog or my journal? Does it matter. Does anyone care? -- Photo by Pat Bean

Should I write about the butterflies I saw at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix for my blog or my journal? Does it matter. Does anyone care? — Photo by Pat Bean

What Do You Think?

            I’m reading Dinty Moore’s book, “Crafting the Personal Essay.” It’s good. Really good! I’ve been reading a chapter every morning with my coffee – and taking lots of notes.

Mother Nature's wonders, I believe, are meant to be shared with the world. So I guess that means they belong in a blog and not a private journal. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Mother Nature’s wonders, I believe, are meant to be shared with the world. So I guess that means they belong in a blog and not a private journal. — Photo by Pat Bean

This morning’s session, however, cost me.

Dinty thinks it is important to write things readers might care about and be interested in reading; and I realized that what I had written didn’t sound interesting – even to me. Well, except for the quotes, which I do find thought-provoking.

My first draft of this blog, however, was taking too many words to say simply that. Thankfully, I have learned that the delete key is often the best editor.

As for the difference between blogging and journaling, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the audience.  My journal is for my eyes only, and my blog is for the entire world to read. And I hope they do.           

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat Are Blogs the New Journal? http://tinyurl.com/mu6lelo This was my inspiration for today’s blog, but the subject matter is one I have pondered now for over a year.

Read Full Post »

“The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location.” – Flannery O’Connor

The large X Marks the Spot painting that hangs in my living room that was a gift to me from my artist friend Richard Sheppard.

The large X Marks the Spot painting that hangs in my living room, which was a gift to me from my artist friend Richard Sheppard.

A Silly Game

            My mornings begin by walking my canine companion, Pepper, and then returning to my apartment for a cup of bold, cream-laced coffee, during which time I plan my day by writing down everything I want to accomplish in my daily notebook.

A painting my Wassily Kandinsky, an artist whose work I love.

A painting my Wassily Kandinsky, an artist whose work I love.

The list is usually lengthy – and most certainly undoable. But, since I don’t suffer from OCD, I get pleasure in crossing out anything on the list that I do complete, and accepting that what’s left over makes a starting point for the next day.

Often, as I drink my coffee, I look up at a painting that was a gift to me from my friend Richard Sheppard. It’s titled X Marks the Spot.

My imagination asks me which X represents me this particular day.  Do I feel energized like a red X, happy or giddily like a yellow X, or strong and determined like a black X.? I know it’s silly, but it’s a game I’ve been playing for years.

This morning, as I drank my coffee and looked at the painting, I thought of the opening line of an Indiana Jones movie in which the professor said “X never marks the spot.” But of course it did.

Then I decided that my X for this day would be the biggest black one I could find. It would represent my determination to keep my newly created resolution to write three hours a day. I’ve learned that if I at least mark off this item on my long list, I will feel a sense of achievement that will put a big smile on my face.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pats: Spiced Memories http://tinyurl.com/n3vsf7v  and Wassily Kandinsky http://tinyurl.com/lx9ou9d I liked these two blogs because they sent me on a research mission to learn more. I checked out the photo on Spiced Memories, and found a creative spice commercial that was truly artsy-fartsy. And the second blog introduced me to an artist whose work has now made the list of my favorites, along with the paintings of Homer Winslow, Van Gogh and Emil Nolde’s colorful interpretations of life that goes on around us. The Internet is so much better than the encyclopedia volumes that my curious mind devoured before the world-wide-web became a daily part of my life.

Read Full Post »

      

I feel like the past nine days have been like a storm on the horizon keeping me holed up inside of myself.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

I feel like the past nine days have been  a storm on the horizon that has kept me holed up inside of myself. — Photo by Pat Bean

So Many Questions, Only One Answer

            My goal for this year was to post three times a week. Mostly I met it, and even sometimes exceeded it. But it’s been nine days since I posted on this blog. Nine unproductive days in which I have done nothing that gave me a sense of achievement.

It feels good to have weathered that storm, and to once again be on the path I chose for myself. While I've thought about other paths, they aren't the ones that sustain me. -- Photo by Pat Bean

It feels good to have weathered that storm, and to once again be on the path I chose for myself. While I’ve thought about other paths, they aren’t the ones that sustain me. — Photo by Pat Bean

Now I’m asking myself why I keep on keeping on. Why do I continue to struggle to get my book, “Travels with Maggie,” published? Why do I continue to send out my travel articles and other essays to markets when I get more rejections than acceptances? Why do feel I must write every day?

I think about giving it all up, simply living this third trimester of my life lazing about. I would have to be quite frugal, but I’ve done that all my life. I long ago realized money is nice to have, but has nothing to do with happiness.

The truth is, my past nine days of lazing about morphed the happy person I’ve always been into someone I suddenly didn’t know, or particularly like.

Now, however, as I ponder these questions in the way I do best – with my fingers on my computer in front of a blank page – I find myself smiling. It feels amazing and wonderful to once again be the person I have come to know and love.

I guess that’s my answer to why I keep on keeping on.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: To Girls of all Age http://tinyurl.com/ld44qas I love this message. It touched my soul.

Read Full Post »

            “And as imagination bodies forth

            The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen

            Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing

            A local habitation and a name. — William Shakespeare. A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Nothing helps my writing better than a morning in which I take a walk in time to see the sun come up. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Nothing helps my writing better than a morning in which I take a walk in time to see the sun come up. — Photo by Pat Bean

Perhaps You Are

“Just because I’m not writing doesn’t mean I’m not writing.” – Unknown

And when I take that walk with Pepper, I'm a lucky old broad indeed. -- Photo by Pat Bean

And when I take that walk with Pepper, I’m a lucky old broad indeed. — Photo by Pat Bean

I came across that quote when I was 10 years into my 37-year journalism career. From that point forward, it never strayed far from being in plain sight when I sat down at my computer.

While one is never going to become a writer unless he writes a heck of a lot, I think those who do write, do it even when they’re not doing it.

Perhaps only writers can understand this. But observing the features of the person sitting opposite you at Starbucks, and imagining how you would describe those features to readers, is writing. Recalling the full-bodied dream you had, and wondering if it could be a story, is writing. And staring out the window at the clouds and not thinking of anything is writing.

To write is to be observant of life as it plays out all around you. Putting what you see into words makes awesome sunsets and the aged wrinkles in an old woman’s face both seem real – and both seem beautiful. At least that’s the way it is for this writer.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Cape Point Hike http://tinyurl.com/mssarg7 I can never resist a scenic walk, and always enjoy when a writer takes me along with them.

Read Full Post »

            “A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” – Herm Albright

Perhaps I also like to watch Survivor and American Ninja Warrior because I'm a bit of an adrenalin junkie who can imagine herself as one of the participants. Which is why it was such a thrill for me to go for a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti.

Perhaps I also like to watch Survivor and American Ninja Warrior because I’m a bit of an adrenalin junkie who can imagine herself as one of the participants. Which is why it was such a thrill for me to go for a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti.

An Aha Moment

I don’t have a TV, which is fine with me. The few programs I want to watch (Survivor, Amazing Race and NCIS, primarily), I can get on my computer.

Thankfully, these days I can get just as much of an adrenalin high from simply watching birds and butterflies.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

Thankfully, these days I can get just as much of an adrenalin high from simply watching birds and butterflies. — Photo by Pat Bean

But this past week, while I was house sitting three dogs, two cats and two fish, at my daughter’s house while she and her family went on vacation, I found myself plunked down much too often in front of their big-screen monster.

I was amazed at both how many channels they had, and how few programs – after my marathon NCIS day – on television that were worth watching. My channel surfing ended when I clicked on a program called American Ninja Warrior. Fortunately the actual program, and not the endless commercials, was showing or I would have just kept clicking.

I hate violence and would have assumed that this was what the show was all about. It wasn’t. It simply involved a very difficult obstacle course that hundreds of athletes were attempting to complete. More failed than made it.

But almost without exception, those who tried were cheered by all, even their opponents, and those who failed smiled and said, “I’ll be back next year.”

And with those last words, I finally understood my attraction to such television programs as Survivor, of which I’ve long been a fan despite it being a game that encourages lying and deceit as part of the game. It’s the contestants who pick themselves up and continue onward, even when there is little to no hope, that I find so compelling.

I love that attitude. It is one writers who get rejection slips – and believe me I’ve had a ton of them – must have to keep going.

Bean Pat:  Zoo Stroll http://tinyurl.com/ldnf7y2 Take an armchair stroll through Smithsonian National Zoological Park.

Read Full Post »

I learned to identify birds, like this lilac-breasted roller, one bird at a time, which is the same approach Anne Lamott suggests we use for writing. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I learned to identify birds, like this lilac-breasted roller, one bird at a time, which is the same approach Anne Lamott suggests we use for writing. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.” – Anne Lamott

Who Gives the Best Advice?

My favorite book about writing is Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird,” which by the way is also a good book for how to live your life.

Anne-Lamott-2013-San-Francisco

Anne Lawmott — Wikimedia photo

In it, Anne quotes E.L. Doctorow, who once said that “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

She thought it was right up there with the best advice on writing she had ever heard. So do I.

I also identify with this quote by Anne:” “Your problem is how you are going to spend this one odd and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over people and circumstance, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it, and find out the truth about who you are.”

As I said, “Bird by Bird,” is about living as much as writing.

As for her advice that perfectionism isn’t a good thing, I find myself fighting this battle each time I’m about half way through a writing project, and start thinking my writing is not good enough.

Then I find it’s time to take advice from a Nike slogan: “Just do it.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: A Recorder and Puberty  http://tinyurl.com/lhkptek This blog took me back to my parenting days, and I laughed because I got through them.

Bean Pat: Yellow-crowned heron http://tinyurl.com/ow8xjyu You can even find them in Queens New York.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 673 other followers