Monday, May 30, 2011

Computer Age

Coming into the electronic age at this stage of my life is a daunting proposition. Facebook fan pages, Twitter, blogs, You-Tube, all there to use for advertising, getting things off your chest, or to help someone learn a craft, to giving suggestions and encouragement for weightier problems. And you can even get your book or short stories on Kindle, Nook and a dozen other sites for purchase by the general public. A wonderful tool. Except I’m not even sure what Twitter is and what it does!
            So, how do we, as the behind-the-times generation figure all this out? If you have younger friends, talk to them. You can always go to your local high school or college and find a computer whiz—every high school or college has at least one—and pay them a nominal fee to help you set it all up. There are professionals who will do the same thing, but at a higher price, of course. You can order books from Amazon or go to your library for step-by-step instructions on Twitter, Facebook fan pages, Kindle, or any other medium you want to learn. It’s out there, we just have to find it—and understand it. Sometimes the instructions are harder to figure out than the actual set up.
            We don’t have to remain in the dark ages, but we do have to educate ourselves. And while not always easy, especially if you’re not at all familiar with computers, it can be done. There is no reason for any of us to remain in the uncomputerized past.
            And I keep telling myself that over and over and over…
            So if you were to pass my house one night and the air resonates with not so nice words and phrases, please don’t investigate, (unless you’re a computer whiz, then please feel free to break down the door) it’s only me—trying to enter this brave new world—kicking and screaming all the way (literally).

Friday, May 13, 2011

     How many times, as a writer, you've thought to youself, I don't know what to write. We've all been there. I've heard writers say, "I never have to look for stories. They are all around me." Others have agonized for weeks or longer due to lack of inspiration.
     So why is it that some writers can write a riveting story about the earthworm they encountered on their walk, while others make majestic mountains and deep, lush valleys sound mundane? I wish I knew. I want to be one of those writers who can make the earthworm a work of wonder for my readers.
     During my writing journey, I've written everything from humorous to the dark exploration of the human psyche, with a few stories that are undefinable on the side. With fiction, all I have to worry about is telling a good tale, fleshing it out with a sense of place and "showing" my readers what's happening at any given time. I have to get and keep the readers attention and give them a sense of satisfaction when they're finished. To me, this is fairly easy. I can make up anything.
     With non-fiction, I have a little more trouble. Ideas flow like a babbling brook chasing rainbows downstream. I'm filled to overflowing with ideas. But--can I paint a picture filled with verdant green hills echoing with mockingbird songs that will satisfy my reader and make them want to visit that place? Can I describe the day I drove down a country road and saw a man sitting on his front porch, fiddle under his chin? Is it possible for me to explain the deep abiding peace I felt as I pulled to the side of the road to listen to the hauntingly beautiful strains of music that flowed over the valleys and touched the treetops with an elegance not found in Carnegie Hall?
     These are my sometimes writing blocks--the fear of being unable to show how much that fiddle player on a back road in Arkansas affected me. Can I loosen up enough to put my innermost thoughts down for all to see--how tears flowed down my face as I listened to that untrained fiddle player make the sweetest music I've ever heard? Can I convey to my reader the mirable and wonder of that lowly earthworm?
     As a writer, I must try. There are days I fail miserably, but other days, the words flow freely and I know, as surely as a butterfly emerges from a coccon, that my words will surely touch someone, somewhere.
     And, as a writer, this is all I can strive for.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I just returned from Oklahoma Writers' Federation, Inc., 2011 conference. It was a pleasure to speak to the attendees and meet and greet new people and visit with old friends. A wonderful conference, smooth as glass--at least to our eyes. The powers that were in charge may have had heart-stopping moments, but the rest of us never knew and that's what makes great leaders. They suffer in silence or quietly on the sidelines. Thanks to everyone for having me and for the special treatment.

If you've never attended a conference, you should really think about doing so. This is the place where you meet, not only other writers like yourself, but agents and editors. And just so you know, conferences do make a difference; I contracted my first writing assignment at a conferenc, and my book, "Washed in the Blood," is now with a New York agent that I met at a one. After attending one, you'll be anxious to get back home and write all the stories you thought of while listening to speakers, or from conversations you heard in passing. So plan to attend one if at all possible. Besides, they are a lot of fun.

Keep an eye on this blog for my upcoming blurb for my book, "Washed in the Blood," a suspense novel.

Never stop writing.