Monday, July 30, 2012

Music Gets Me Through It...Always Has

music sheets with banner
by Terri Wagner

This is the song that I can still sing today a year and some months from being laid off with no job in sight.

This is the song that I can still sing today knowing that some blessings are only delayed not denied.

This is the song that I can still sing today that keeps my heart happy instead of bitter.

This is the song I sing to keep my eyes on what really counts.

And this is the song that gets me through each day...with just enough faith to believe there are good things coming.

What would we do without music?

On Words of Wisdom

By C. Wolfe

I do enjoy procrastinating. Or perhaps that's not the right word. I tend to procrastinate. Especially important things. Like thinking of a topic for my next blog post. So, when I got the email a few days ago reminding me about posting a blog post today, I realized I had nothing to write about. But, being me, instead of thinking about topics and drafting a few ideas like I planned to, I simply ignored it until yesterday. Finally, here it was, 11:30 pm on Sunday evening, and I still didn't have any ideas. I quickly sorted through my mind looking for ideas, and just as quickly dismissed them all one by one. Finally, in a last ditch attempt to come up with something passable as a post, I googled "Quotes on Writing". I liked them so much that I decided I'd share a few with my fellow writers. So here are just a few of my favorites. Hope you all enjoy them!

"The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say." -Anais Nin

"Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." -E.L. Doctorow 
"A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket." -Charles Peguy

"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible." -Vladimir Nabakov 

"Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them." -Nathaniel Hawthorne 

These were just a few of my favorite. If you want to read more, this is the website I found them on, in case you want to read more. If any of you have a favorite quote on writing feel free to post them below in the comments! I'd love to hear them! Thanks!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

On Saving those Precious Words

By Jennifer Debenham

Not too long ago I wrote a post in which I praised the beauty of the desert. What I didn't mention, however, is that I spent hours at that time desperately searching for a poem about the desert, which I had written some years before but which had been left on a computer that died two computers before my current one. (Does anyone else go through computers this fast?)

Because the computer I had written the poem on had so completely died, I never got my work off of it before it went to computer heaven. I remembered posting the poem on a family website, so my only hope was that it would still be there--hidden somewhere among the many files. I never did find the poem for that post. A couple weeks ago, however, after I awoke early one morning, unable to sleep anymore, I decided to return to the family website and renew my searching. After several hours I found it.

The lesson was clear. Back up your files. I'm not saying this poem is going to win me the Pulitzer or anything, but it has sentimental value because, with the exception of my four-year stint to western Washington, I've always lived in the desert. And it wasn't until I had this "A-ha" moment that I actually realized I do love the desert. Good thing too, since I'm sorta stuck here!

To Nevada—

I didn’t love you at first glance.

For I was bought by greener scenes—
The meadow splashed with rain-dropped flow’rs,
The tree-washed grove of glist’ning greens,
Or ocean ‘scape midst crashing waves;
While you my untrained eyes demeaned.

For could I quench my thirst for lush
With endless sage-soaked highway lines
Unrolling past my farthest view
To slice in half a dismal find
Of dust and rock and windblown weed?
Not so for eyes so unrefined.

Then to my sight there came a view
Of sun-kissed mounts of every hue
Where golden hill meets tow’ring peak
That swells and folds, a secret keeps,
Then reaches to the sunset sky
That blushes while the clouds drift by.

I wondered how I’d been so blind.
Before my sight could never find
The beauty past the highway side
Where shades magnificent confide
A splendor only open to
A mind enlightened to your view.

I started this poem as I drove across the Nevada desert and realized I had long overlooked the mountainous landscape that enhances Nevada’s unique beauty. The rhyme pattern change that starts in the 3rd stanza is intentional as if my mind, now enlightened, now puts thoughts together more easily (with more obvious rhyme too). The last two stanzas were the easiest to write also, kind of like having an "aha moment."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Copyright

By Bonnie Harris

I'm sure many of you have seen the blog post I'll soon talk about floating around. My experience with copyright has always been with music. I remember helping my dad go through file cabinets full of music at his school, pulling out the photo copies of music and destroying them because of copyright. It took forever because the teacher before him hadn't followed the copyright laws. In that particular instance, the law violated was that teachers are allowed to make "practice copies" of the music they are working on, as long as the copies are not kept. That's just a small aspect of the music copyright laws.

Most movies have a copyright laws listed somewhere in the opening credits. You know, use of this video in any other manner or without the written consent of so-and-so is prohibited. Popular music that is performed has a copyright too. Just about everything out there that has to do with the arts is attached to a copyright law for the protection of those individuals who work so hard to produce their art.

Some of us, albeit unknowingly, violate copyright laws, sometimes on a daily basis. This article opened my eyes and reminded me to be careful that I don't violate someone's copyright by copying and pasting a picture or article or something of that nature on my blog. As published, so to be published, and prepublished authors, we should be aware of and respect other artists copyright. I know we will expect others to do the same for us when it's our time.

So take the time to read this article. It's a very telling post of this gals personal experience with copyright. And just be careful. In the meantime, Happy Writing.

Roni Loren: Bloggers Beware (Just a note, she is a national bestselling romance author so there are those kinds of covers on her blog.)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Eat, Drink and Be Merry


Lately, my scriptures have taken on a new life.  To read about that little adventure, click here and here.  I’ve recommitted myself to reading my scriptures every day and it has made a huge difference in my life.  A few weeks ago, I read the following scripture:

2 Nephi 28:7
Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.

I’ve heard this scripture my entire life and always felt it pertained to people with addictions; maybe an alcoholic who drank every day, but suddenly, this scripture touched my heart.  It has become my new mission statement.
Here’s what it means to me.
I live a busy life.  I eat on the run.  I rush through meaningful tasks.  I hurry my kids out the door, than back in the door.  Rush to dinner, rush to bed, hurry and wake up and so. 
It all seems so . . . rushed!
And I go days without really seeing my life.
This scripture seemed to open my eyes to the idea that life isn’t just about getting things done.  I need to reflect more on the little things, focus on healthy eating habits because day after day after day, they matter. 
I need to reflect on daily service, prayer and forgiveness.  These attributes put me in the now. 
Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die is the attitude of someone who doesn’t look strangers in the eye, who doesn’t take time to smile or take time out of their day to do something nice for someone else.  It is an attitude that it’s all for me and I’m only here to get what I want.

The irony of this scripture is that this is what the world wants us to believe.  In reality, the message is:
Live life to its fullest, enjoy every experience because it is for your benefit and find joy in life, because life is eternal and your choices have consequences.  Ultimately, live like Christ.
It’s interesting, because this scripture runs around in my mind every time I eat.  It has helped me make better eating choices.  I’m starting to understand every bite I eat should be thought out.  I want to live a healthy long life for my children and my future grandchildren and those choices start now.
Interesting, but I think this scripture helped me mature a bit (really a lot) because I know each day is accounted for with God and I need to prayerfully live each day for Him.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lessons Learned In a Tent Trailer

by Kari Diane Pike

The Three-Piece-Suit Bank Teller meant well. It was a simple enough request. "May I have your address please?"

I began to rattle off my new mailing address. "P.O. Box ...."

The Interrupting Three-Piece-Suit Bank Teller scowled down at the paper on the desk and sniffed. "I'm sorry, but you have to give me your permanent street address, not your mailing address."

"But I don't have a permanent ...."

Now the Highly Irritated Sniffy Interrupting Three-Piece-Suit Bank Teller looked up and glared at me. "Of course you do. You have to live somewhere."

"Yes, I do. I live in a tent trailer in my sister-in-law's driveway."

"Oh." (Long pause here as the Astute Bank Teller takes it all in -- and sniffs -- again.) "So...you're like...homeless?"

Awkward.

 I hadn't really thought of it that way before.We have access to the house and use of all the facilities -- and even though there are 5 girls and 2 guys and one bathroom -- we have a Texaco station just down the road that opens at 6 a.m. Besides, there are a number of advantages to living in such small quarters:
  • Household chores take all of ten minutes!
  • With such limited space, "owning" things doesn't appeal to me any more. Every purchase is thought out carefully. Is it worth tripping over, climbing around, or sitting upon? How many different ways can I use it?
  • I talk to my kids more. They can't hide in their rooms!
  • I know exactly when my girls come home from their dates or hanging out with friends. I hear everything - every footstep, every toss and turn and every whisper.
  • I've learned that a cat and a parakeet can learn to tolerate each other.
  • A cat in a tent trailer gives a whole new meaning to "climbing the walls."
  • I get to observe the daily (and nightly) comings and goings of "all creatures great and small."(including, but not limited to: spiders, deer, bumble bees, skunks, and crazy joggers.)
Right now, tower bells chime the hour,  giving the up beat to that symphony we call life. The neighbor's sprinklers hiss a steady rhythm to the yells of a cheer squad practicing in the park. A dove calls her mate and ducks squawk at a passing dog as it sniffs along the fence line. Somewhere down the block, a hen cackles a descant as she lays her egg.

A swallow skims across the top of the lawn, steeply ascending as the growling bass of an approaching trash truck crescendos to a roar. The sharp staccato of a nail gun punctures the air in counter point to the dueling buzz of a table saw and weed whackers. Two flat-faced pugs add a cacophony of high-pitched yaps.

I step out of the trailer and lie down in the cool, soft grass. The pugs stop yapping. The tenor of mini van tires humming on the asphalt replaces the trash truck's bass. A shifting breeze chases away the echo of lawn mowers and carpentry tools and carries in the scent of fresh cut grass and wood smoke.Goose bumps raise on my arms as I look up at the charred face of the mountain where recent fires threatened to destroy this magnificent production. A flash of movement catches my peripheral vision. A Monarch butterfly flits among the day lilies and I think of the scripture in Matthew 8:20 where we are taught:

"And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."

The setting sun throws its golden light across the sapphire sky in a grand finale of color and I know that I have been blessed with riches far greater than I could ever imagine.

Hugs~





Online Classes

by Jill Burgoyne

I have recently been reflecting on what an incredible tool the internet is. If I want to know anything, I can type my question in a search engine and in a matter of seconds, the answer to that particular question pops up. We have an immeasurable breadth of knowledge literally at our fingertips.

Several months ago, my mother heard that major Universities and learning institutions were offering some of their courses online for free. To clarify: no credit or certificate or diploma is issued with these classes, but for personal growth and development, they are great! Especially for a Momma like me who only has nap time to take a class and favors the most economic options.

I was curious. I went online to MIT's OpenCourseWare (where their courses are offered) and I was overwhelmed with the options that I had! I clicked on the basic computer programming class and was thoroughly impressed with the format.

The class was a class filmed in the Spring Semester of 2011. The class consists of several structured lectures which you can view as if you were sitting in class. There is no need to buy a book, all of the information you need is provided for you whether in PDF format, or through various links to different informative websites. I was very impressed with the class and am still working myself through it.

So, with my first impression of MIT's online courses being favorable, I decided to try out some of their online languages. (Topics from Aeronautics to electrical engineering to Chinese to French are all covered). But my experience with their German I language class is not very favorable because I couldn't figure out how to get to it. But this didn't deter me in the least. I began searching for other free online classes.

Berkley, Yale, Harvard, Notre Dame and countless other institutions offer varying qualities of courses. I found some websites that were lists of links to online courses, and other places that aren't actual Universities but simply websites where anyone can post any class. (I found a good place for language learning-although I changed my interest from German to French review).

Here are my top five favorite links to browse, including a site for writing courses:

MIT courses :
 http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/

A List of Writing Course links:
 http://diplomaguide.com/articles/Online_Creative_Writing_Courses_Offered_Free_by_Top_Universities_and_Educational_Websites.html

List of Links to Language Learning Courses and Soundbites: **This link requires iTunes for much of the streaming, but there are also iTunes-free links**
http://www.openculture.com/freelanguagelessons

This is a website with links to other various courses: ** There are paid courses as well as free courses offered through this website**
http://www.udemy.com/

For Genealogy:
https://familysearch.org/learningcenter/home.html

Here's to life long learning!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Art of Communication – Nonverbal Messages

By Leesa Ostrander

I began reading Wicked because the Broadway play is coming to our region. The beginning chapters have suggestive behaviors, laden with heavy plot building actions, and limited portrayal characters role in the story. The main character’s only spoken word in the first 70 pages is “horror.”
However, you come to love and pity the vile evil portrayed by the main character, Elphaba.

Through her actions there is a feeling of her being extremely misunderstood.
The character descriptions not only describe their physical attributes, but their personalities intertwined with moral character. Elphaba is described as having skin tones the shades of green with long elegant legs and pointed fingers. In the future you see a sophistication of her motives wanting to destroy the ruby red slippers.

I would love to have a book group on the book to discuss thoughts of how did she bath, drink water to hydrate, been splashed by rain. This is for another time.

As for now, I found the nonverbal messages an integral aspect to the story. When including actions that build a character there a few basics to remember. The actions need to be believable, build up the character, not detract from the story and give the reader a sense of connection to each situation.
A few key aspects of nonverbal communication:
-          communicate feelings and attitudes
-          more believable than spoken words
-          create successful relationships
-          can substitute for verbal communication
-          are cultural bound
Characterization and use of nonverbal or action cues give meaning and soul to a character. Each character that is visualized by the reader clearly can be a part of the story and build the plot.

Each character can be alive and believable through using human attributes. With over 80% of our communication from nonverbal messages then our characters need to have these qualities in the story as well.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Kismet!

By TKAstle


Front Cover


Don't you love it when the forces of the universe seem to align in your favor and bring just the right thing into your life at just the right moment?

This happened to me recently in the form of Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. Many of you are probably familiar with his ideas already since he did a class at our last conference. After reading - no, studying, dissecting and practically feeding myself intravenously with (You think I'm exaggerating.) - his book, I have just the tools I need to evaluate some possible changes to my finished manuscript and plotting problems with a current WIP.

Even though I have a very strong creative side, I have never thought of myself as an artiste. (You must pronounce that with a lovely french accent.) My analytical tendencies - remember I work in accounting - have always been too strong for me to consider myself artistic through and through like many people I've met. It's rare for me to find anything that gets all my right brain and left brain cylinders firing with equal strength at the same time. This book does that; so as you can imagine, it's got me all lit up. 

So, this is me - tra, la, la - all skipping around and happy, just giddy at being totally obessed by writing again. I've been just a little stuck for awhile, not knowing exactly what I needed to unleash all the ideas I've been pondering lately. Now? Poof! Stuckness gone.

I think I should warn my family that I'll probably be ignoring them for a while. Maybe it's a good thing my last child leaves for college in a few weeks. ; )

How about you? What things are in your must have tool kit for writing?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sharp Writing Methods


by Cindy R. Williams

Most writers tell me that they are always on the look-out for writing tips. Here are a few I keep in mind often.

1.  Use two sentences to set the scene. One using what the reader would see with their eyes if they were in the scene, and in the second sentence use another one of the four senses.  The scene quickly comes alive and the reader can make a good mental picture.

When I do school visits, I always ask the children to name the five senses. Then we do a little exercise by taking a simple sentence like, "The boy walked across the room."  I tell the students to give the boy a name, then as them, "What did he see? What weird smell could we have him notice?"   Then we take it even further and I add, "Let's give him a strange sound to hear like . . . gulp, gulp, gulp or ribbet, ribbet or a high pitched scream." Finally, we make a new sentence to include these senses, something like . . . "Scud McVee eyes watered from the stench of rotten garbage as he skidded across the yellow-green slime covered floor, trying to escape the purple spotted allegator's snapping vampire teeth." The kids get it. (They also like gross stuff.)  It is like an "aha" moment. Some of the teachers have reported back to me that their students stories have come to life and have taken on a new flavor by using their five senses. 

2. Give a character two attributes:
One, a physical trait like a scar on the forehead (Harry Potter) or black greasy hair (Professor Snape) and second, a personality trait such as extremely clever (Hermione Granger), or clumsy (Bella).

I like to give my characters personality traits that make it difficult for them to be the hero, like the Brody boy in my novel, Thundertail. He is seriously afraid of heights, yet has to ride a dragon or else . . . can't tell you what else yet or I would have to hunt you down and swear you to secrecy. 

Giving your character faults is a great way to enrich your character and your story.

Many of you probably already use a form of these two methods in your writing. Care to share what you do in a comment?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Super Suit


I don't enjoy traveling very much. I like being home, in my own nest, with my own things. That being said, it seems I travel a lot lately. I used to travel only for business, but now I seem to have added pleasure travel to my schedule.
I have to say that flying is not so bad. I tend to cringe at the thought of being in a car for more than twenty minutes at a time, so even with the midget sized leg room on most airplanes, the fact that I can cut travel time down to a quarter of car time makes it my number one choice.
One thing I do love about traveling is seeing new places, trying new food, and seeing/meeting new people. People are just fascinating. No matter where I go in the world, I find the same people. There are always the crazy hyper people, the annoyed people, and the people that do things that just make you shake your head and smile.
Right now I am out of town at a convention for my business. It is a company made up almost entirely of women. One could probably predict what happens when three thousand plus women get together. First of all, ALL the bathrooms are made into women's bathrooms. Chocolate is everywhere, and there are always a few women walking around with price tags hanging down their backs.
It doesn't matter where we go or who we see, we all need to buy new clothes to go. We could have a closet full of clothes we have never worn and we will still make time to get to the store to get a new outfit for a trip to see hundreds of women that we not only don't know, but will most likely not see again for a year, if ever.
The men would say we are prideful in our new clothes needs but I beg to differ. There is something about a new outfit that just makes us feel better about ourselves. New outfits are better at hiding our love handles, muffin tops, and insecurities. New clothes smooth out our faults, increase our self worth and add almost the same amount of courage as the medal gave the cowardly lion.
Its true that the 'new outfit' will become old the day we take it home, and may never be worn again because it is too flashy or fancy or scratchy, but it doesn't matter. It's like our security blanket if only for a day.
I just hope the new shirts I bought while on this trip will somehow hide all the extra fluff I have purchased at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Chocolate/caramel/nut covered apples.....you can't eat just one!

Photo credit:  http://www.google.com/imgres?q=images+of+chocolate+covered+apples&hl=en&sa=X&biw=1345&bih=575&tbm=isch&tbnid=Bo9vyWPUq1mgyM:&imgrefurl=http://www.preparedpantry.com/Caramel-Apple-Recipe.htm&docid=_LENwVVt08h21M&imgurl=http://www.preparedpantry.com/images/Full-CaramelApples.jpg&w=300&h=225&ei=v-8IUM2ZMdP_qAGOre3TCg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=101&vpy=156&dur=140&hovh=180&hovw=240&tx=166&ty=121&sig=113066672481944259300&page=1&tbnh=119&tbnw=162&start=0&ndsp=22&ved=1t:429,r:15,s:0,i:122

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Oldies and Goodies

by Susan Knight


This has been one whirlwind of a week and, I apologize, it just occurred to me that I have a blog to write. Sleep is overrated anyway.

I had an exciting sandwich of events in my life this week. First, my missionary son returned from Chicago a week ago. It is still surreal. I’m not used to him and he’s definitely not used to his new home. He left from Pennsylvania and returned to Utah. He’s even met a new (to him) brother-in-law as his sister got married while he was on his mission.

Tomorrow my youngest daughter will graduate from college. Early Childhood Development is her major. She took it so she could be the best mom ever. And, no doubt, she will be. Three down; one to go. I can’t wait to see her walk.

The middle of the sandwich is the concert I went to last night. The performance was packed with the bubblegum flavors of the favorite music of my youth. It’s called the “Happy Together Tour:” the Buckinghams, the Grass Roots, Gary Puckett, Micky Dolenz from The Monkees, and the Turtles.

I haven’t felt that young in years. It might be because, as I looked around, all I saw were old people sitting all about me. What were they doing there at my concert celebrating my childhood?  One of the Turtles mentioned that we all looked good for our age. wink*wink

Now, I’m going to place some music in your head. If you’re my age, it will stay there for awhile, so get ready, or heed the spoiler alert.

“Kind of a Drag…” ♫♪ “Daydream Believer…” ♫♪ “Elenore (gee I think you’re swell)…” ♫♪ “Happy Together…” ♫♪ “Young Girl (get out of my mind)…” ♫♪ “Lady Willpower…”♫♪ “Woman…” ♫♪ “Temptation Eyes…” ♫♪ “Midnight Confessions…” ♫♪ “Pleasant Valley Sunday…”♫♪ “I’m a Believer…”♫♪ and, of course, my unbiased favorite, ♫♪ “Susan” (looks like I’m losin’…).

Ah, junior high. I wouldn’t do that again for a million bucks.  But the music sure was good!

From top left: The Buckinghams; Micky Dolenz;
center: The Grass Roots; bottom left: Gary Puckett; The Turtles

Cheers!

by Kami Cornwall

So being off the grid was nice but coming back home and playing catch-up? Not so nice. My boys caught hand-foot-mouth disease (not to be confused with hoof-and-mouth or mad-cow disease) which left them feeling like their throats were on fire, feverish, and vomity. Is vomity a word? Well I'm making it up. It's a word now, people! I dare you to use it in your next book. Vomity! So anyway, I quarantined them. I also spent any free time I may have had devoted to helping our local theatre get the set painted and ready to go. You would think painting a floor to look like an icy lake would be fast. You would think that...but you would be dead wrong. Here is a photo.

This week I have two old website clients who want some MAJOR updates done on their sites which will take me from now until...oh...maybe when I'm eighty to finish. Did I mention the play? Oh, I mentioned the set. Well I'm producing the play too. Yes.  Oh, and I was cast as the queen of Narnia too. Yep. Oh, and I'm also doing all of their radio ads, artwork, flyers, um...are you feeling tired reading this yet? Yeah. So free time? What's that? I have actually been fantasizing about running away to a spa and getting a pedicure or a manicure. When a girl's gotta DREAM about getting something as simple as a pedicure done, knowing it won't be a reality any time soon? What does that say about her? Oh, the humanity!

In church on Sunday my favorite person asked me, "How's the book coming along?" I screamed, slapped him in the face, and strangled him. But only in my head. Then I forced a smile and said, "I would very much like to be writing again but for the next two weeks I'm a bit swamped." He said some encouraging words and I went to class.

I'm reminded of a favorite line from The Princess Bride, "Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder, and Guilder to frame for it. I'm swamped!" Hope you are all getting enough rest because if you haven't got your health, then you haven't got anything.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Talk About Character Description

by Terri Wagner

Years ago I was wondering around the streets of Nawlins in a hot and humid August when I ducked into a bookstore and found this gem of a book. The following descriptive narrative is amazing isn't it?

"Prince Eddy has been born January 8, 1864, two months premature and without preparations or a nurse in attendance...From infancy the Prince had been blighted with poor health. As he matured, his lack of character and his inordinate slowness were causes for greater concern. From birth he bore a hearing deficiency, a problem which accounted for his learning disability...Prince Eddy was inclined to dark moods, and though his manners were correct, he was aloof and awkward, suffered a nervous tic, and possessed a piercing, unpleasant, high-pitched voice." Matriarch by Anne Edwards, 1984.

There are so many clues in this wonderful paragraph that makes me instantly sympathetic to this young man: premature in a time when that was practically a death sentence, his LD and hearing loss, his obvious physical difficulties. You have to wonder how much better he would have fared in today's world of exceptional children.

An aside this was Queen Victoria's grandson who was heir to the throne. He died somewhat sadly and rather conveniently leaving the stage clear for his younger brother and Prince Eddy's fiance, Princess May, to marry and become King George and Queen Mary. While by all accounts their marriage was a happy one, I still can't help but wonder about that poor neglected fellow.

In fairness I have to add he displayed quite erratic behavior and strange dressing habits (isn't that hysterical and yet I think of the strange clothes some of our youth today wear). He died January 14, 1892 at only 28. It is claimed that the royal family while sad did breath a silent sigh of relief. His brother George being a more suitable heir.

Every time I read that descriptive paragraph, I want to reach across the veil and say, ok what was his real problem? And I am amazed that no one ever seriously considered putting him aside as the heir. He was what they had to work with and so be it. That stiff British upperlip I kinda admire.

photo of Prince Eddy
Prince Albert Edward (Eddy) left, his brother, Prince George (George V)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Everybody Is A Genius


By: C. Wolfe
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” ― Albert Einstein

When I saw this quote a few months (if not years!) back, I thought to myself, this is so true! But I didn't know what my genius could possibly be. When I brought it up with mom a few days ago, she told me about a class she took in college where they talked about intelligences and genius areas. She said there were something like 8-9 of them, and that everyone has at least one or two of them, but there's no limit to how many of them you can have. 

Later on, I brought it up with my best friend Megan and she said she learned about it in one of her Psychology classes for teaching up at BYU-Idaho. It's called "The Nine Types of Intelligence" By Howard Gardner (if you google "Gardner's Intelligences" you should have no problem finding them). I found a website with all of them, but I pasted them below as well. I was looking through them and I can definitely see myself and some of my friends and family members in them.

The Nine Types of Intelligence
By Howard Gardner

1. Naturalist Intelligence (“Nature Smart”)

Designates the human ability to discriminate among living things (plants, animals) as well as sensitivity to other features of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations).  This ability was clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers; it continues to be central in such roles as botanist or chef.  It is also speculated that much of our consumer society exploits the naturalist intelligences, which can be mobilized in the discrimination among cars, sneakers, kinds of makeup, and the like. 

2. Musical Intelligence (“Musical Smart”)

Musical intelligence is the capacity to discern pitch, rhythm, timbre, and tone.  This intelligence enables us to recognize, create, reproduce, and reflect on music, as demonstrated by composers, conductors, musicians, vocalist, and sensitive listeners.  Interestingly, there is often an affective connection between music and the emotions; and mathematical and musical intelligences may share common thinking processes.  Young adults with this kind of intelligence are usually singing or drumming to themselves.  They are usually quite aware of sounds others may miss.


3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence ("Number/Reasoning Smart")

Logical-mathematical intelligence is the ability to calculate, quantify, consider propositions and hypotheses, and carry out complete mathematical operations.  It enables us to perceive relationships and connections and to use abstract, symbolic thought; sequential reasoning skills; and inductive and deductive thinking patterns.  Logical intelligence is usually well developed in mathematicians, scientists, and detectives.  Young adults with lots of logical intelligence are interested in patterns, categories, and relationships.  They are drawn to arithmetic problems, strategy games and experiments.

4. Existential Intelligence (mom calls this the "Spirit Smart")

Sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why do we die, and how did we get here.

5. Interpersonal Intelligence ("People Smart”)

Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand and interact effectively with others.  It involves effective verbal and nonverbal communication, the ability to note distinctions among others, sensitivity to the moods and temperaments of others, and the ability to entertain multiple perspectives. Teachers, social workers, actors, and politicians all exhibit interpersonal intelligence.  Young adults with this kind of intelligence are leaders among their peers, are good at communicating, and seem to understand others’ feelings and motives.

6. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (“Body Smart”)

Bodily kinesthetic intelligence is the capacity to manipulate objects and use a variety of physical skills.  This intelligence also involves a sense of timing and the perfection of skills through mind–body union.  Athletes, dancers, surgeons, and craftspeople exhibit well-developed bodily kinesthetic intelligence.

7. Linguistic Intelligence ("Word Smart")

Linguistic intelligence is the ability to think in words and to use language to express and appreciate complex meanings.  Linguistic intelligence allows us to understand the order and meaning of words and to apply meta-linguistic skills to reflect on our use of language.  Linguistic intelligence is the most widely shared human competence and is evident in poets, novelists, journalists, and effective public speakers.  Young adults with this kind of intelligence enjoy writing, reading, telling stories or doing crossword puzzles.

8. Intra-personal Intelligence ("Self Smart”)

Intra-personal intelligence is the capacity to understand oneself and one’s thoughts and feelings, and to use such knowledge in planning and directioning one’s life.  Intra-personal intelligence involves not only an appreciation of the self, but also of the human condition.  It is evident in psychologist, spiritual leaders, and philosophers.  These young adults may be shy.  They are very aware of their own feelings and are self-motivated.

9. Spatial Intelligence (“Picture Smart”)

Spatial intelligence is the ability to think in three dimensions.  Core capacities include mental imagery, spatial reasoning, image manipulation, graphic and artistic skills, and an active imagination.  Sailors, pilots, sculptors, painters, and architects all exhibit spatial intelligence.  Young adults with this kind of intelligence may be fascinated with mazes or jigsaw puzzles, or spend free time drawing or daydreaming.

Felt that I should share this with all of you! Feel free to comment below on which ones you think sound like you! Here, I'll start it off:

I can see myself in: Musical, Interpersonal (yes I do mean interpersonal, not intrapersonal), and Linguistic Intelligences. I can sort of see a small portion of Spatial Intelligence in me in the ability to mentally picture events and scenes from books in my head, Bodily Kinesthetic I can sort of see in myself as well, in my love of yoga, basketball, and dance.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Judge Me Not

By Jennifer Debenham

I have a beautiful younger sister who is expecting her fifth child in October. She is twenty-eight years old but doesn't look a day over eighteen, so often she gets curious looks when she takes her expanding cluster of kiddos to the store or the park. People can't imagine that she could really have all those children without having started way too young. While she did have her first child at a young age by most standards--she was twenty--she and her equally great husband were ready to be parents. She and her husband have worked hard to become completely debt free, despite accumulating student loans while they received their degrees. He provides for their family comfortably, and she uses her degree in Early Childhood Development to prepare her children for life. She is one of the best moms I know. I've often thought that her children must have done something extra special in Heaven to deserve the privilege of having her for a mother.

So imagine my incredulity when one day a couple weeks ago someone saw her with her children and called her a "teen-age mom" and then expressed their disgust by shouting out an ugly expression that refers to an unchaste woman. If only this judgmental person truly knew my sister.

This experience reminded me of a time when my parents, my husband, and I were traveling in Italy a few years ago. My father had recently suffered a back injury that made it painful for him to walk long distances, so we had procured a wheelchair for him to help during the long walks we often needed to take. At one point when we were walking a long distance from the train station to our hotel room, my dad offered to put some of our heavier suitcases in his wheelchair, which he then proceeded to push through the uneven cobble-stone streets. By leaning on the wheelchair and pushing, it was easier for him than walking unaided, but it was still a painful sacrifice. Not long after he made the switch, an old, Italian lady walked by him, scowled, and said, “Lazy American” loud enough for my poor dad to hear. Little did she know how far from the truth her statement was.
Just a couple weeks ago my teenage daughter suffered a similar misjudgment when some leaders at a girl’s camp thought that she—the new girl that no one really knew yet—was guilty of stealing something from someone’s tent. She and another girl (also new) were patted down, forced to turn out their pockets, and had their bags thoroughly searched. My daughter and her friend professed their innocence. Nothing was ever found. Indeed, no one had complained of missing anything, but these leaders jumped to a negative conclusion when the girls were found to be in a tent that didn’t belong to them. The other girl’s parents and I were called up late that night to collect our “wayward” daughters. Later it was discovered that the girls were trying to play a harmless prank on a friend by hiding her sleeping bag in a different tent. Fortunately, as parents and leaders we were able to work out the situation and the girls remained at camp. Unfortunately, damage had already been done, and rumors spread like a plague through the camp. My daughter and her friend had to suffer the whispering rumors of their peers. By the time she came home she had heard tales that included such whoppers as: they had destroyed the leaders’ tent and all their possessions, and: they had ruined all the food at camp by throwing it on the ground, though I’m not sure how much credence the latter story held when everyone ate just like usual the next day. It goes to show how easily logic can be forgotten in such situations.
I wish I could say that I or those I love have never been the victims of misjudgment. I wish even more that I could claim I had never misjudged anyone, but I know that isn’t true. Still, at moments like this, when those I love have suffered such injustices, I wish I could do away with all judgment.
Only One is truly capable of knowing our hearts and being the judge. Fortunately for us, He—as a victim of the worst misjudgment imaginable—also gave us the perfect example of how to respond to such misjudgment when He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Creating Great Characters

By Bonnie Harris

These last few weeks my brain has been working on overload and I haven't even been able to think about writing. I've found that my "spare" time has been spent reading friends FB posts and playing a game that doesn't take any brain power. So, I've struggled to come up with a good topic for this post. I turned to my blog folder to see if I've used up all my backup posts and found a document full of great links on character development.

For me, my characters have always developed themselves. I've sat through many classes on the best way to develop characters and nothing I've done seems to really fit. My stories tend to develop themselves and I get to know and love my characters along the way. So far it has worked for me. However, I know that my way isn't always the best or most efficient way. Here are some wonderful posts by others that give a more rounded approach to creating great characters.

Holly Lisle: How To Create A Character
MD Lynn: How To Develop Characters When Writing A Novel
Glen C Strathy: How To Create Characters That Are Believable and Memorable
Ingrid Sundberg: Seven Ways to Develop Compelling Characters
Writer's Digest: Quick Tip: How To Develop Your Characters


I hope you enjoy and Happy Writing!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Writing about falling in love

by Laura Lofgreen

After reading Pioneer Woman and Heaven is Here, I realized something I’d already knew about myself—I really enjoy a well-written love story. I’ve been working on writing my own love story with all the intriguing details and heartwarming discoveries. I fell in love all over again with my man.

My mom is working on her own biography and asked if I’d help her write her story. Imagine spending time with your mom while she shares the most interesting details of her life? It's been fascinating. It didn’t take long until she was sharing memories of how she met my dad. This wasn’t the 10-minute story I heard growing up. This was full of details, some of which she hadn’t thought of for years. This is how my parents met and it doesn’t take long to see they were falling in love.


Well into her second semester, my mom Sarah was enjoying school at Utah State, happily living with girlfriends near campus and working part-time in the Foreign Student’s Office.

One Sunday in April, she was asked to give a short talk in church. She did not know him yet, but my dad Brent was in attendance. He was intrigued and cleverly learned her name from the program.

The next afternoon she was walking towards home from her last class when someone called her name, “Sarah….” She looked to the source and saw a guy across the street in a white car, “Sarah, would you like a ride home?” he inquired.

She promptly looked straight ahead and continued walking. She was well trained…no good southern girl was going to talk to strangers, let alone accept a ride from one.

“Sarah…may I give you a ride?” he persisted.

She could not believe it. Who was this guy? Couldn’t he take a hint? She looked straight ahead and doubled her speed.

By this time several students were watching the scene with some amusement.

Suddenly she was startled by a white blur at her side. The stranger had actually made a U-turn and was creeping along next to her. What was she going to do? A third time she heard that obnoxious voice even louder, “Sarah…may I give you a ride home?”

The curious crowd of students was growing. This was getting embarrassing. Sarah whirled around toward the car with her most potent “Back off, Turkey!” look…and realized she’d seen the guy at church. He had caught her eye on more then one occasion because he was older, maybe around 28, and she had heard he was a graduate student.

With the obnoxious persistence he’d already manifested, she figured the only way to shut him up was to cooperate. So Sarah swallowed her southern pride and climbed into the front seat with the cute stranger.

With embarrassment, she noticed that some of the students high-fived each other.

And she realized the cute stranger had gorgeous dark wavy hair.

“Hi. My name is Brent,” he said as he extended his hand. She shook his hand and he continued, “I know your name is Sarah from the church program. I enjoyed your talk in Sunday School.”

“Thanks.” she mumbled, withdrawing her hand…still not sure what sh’d gotten herself into.

“Which way home?” asked Mr. Persistent.

She gave directions to her nearby apartment and within about two minutes they pulled into her parking lot overlooking Cache Valley.

An Unexpected Conversation

In his white Mercury Meteor they sat in the front seat of the car. Sarah was still apprehensive about what she was doing here. As a child, she was told to sit on the porch while the neighborhood kids played ball in the street. Because of her mother’s overprotective nature, she was never allowed to join them. Sarah had accepted this view of life; to play it safe and follow all the rules, but here she was, sitting with a man in a car in broad daylight, a man that she had not been properly introduced to—the Southern way.

But Sarah was 20 years old now, over 2,000 miles away from her parent’s home and willing to try this, although she did keep her hand on the door handle of his car, knowing at any second a single twist of the handle would propel her to open the door and run if necessary.

“Where are you from?” Brent asked.

“Tennessee,” she replied.

“Well, I guessed you were somewhere from the south because of your accent.”

“I’ve been trying to tone that down so people can understand me, but it’s not easy,” she said, a bit embarrassed. Her southern accent had been somewhat of a plague for her since arriving in Utah. In Tennessee, Sarah spoke like everyone else and dressed like everyone else. In Utah, she stood out just by the way she said “Hello.” A few cruel people had asked “You’re from Tennessee? Do people wear shoes there? Does your dad make moonshine?” She wanted to drop her Tennessee image and she needed to drop it fast.

“I am a senior studying elementary education. What about you?” Sarah said, enunciating her words with the effort of a spinster English teacher.

“I’m a graduate student working on my Ph.D as a psychologist.”

“That’s interesting,” she said, making a mental note to look up the word psychologist in the dictionary when she was safe inside her apartment.

“I enjoyed your talk in church. Something happened while you were speaking. I saw a light, a very bright golden light around your head and shoulders. I have never seen anything like that before in my life,” Brent said.

“Really,” she said. Either this was the best pick-up line she’d ever heard or Brent was telling the truth. He continued to speak about the experience with much sincerity. Sarah understood God could manifest things in many different ways and if Brent had seen her spiritual aura, then he must understand spiritual things like her. 

What started out as a conversation about school and weather, turned into something more. He told her he recently returned from a 2 ½ year service mission in Mexico. He loved the people, serving the poorest of the poor. Adjusting to life back in the United States had been difficult because he had wanted to stay longer in Mexico.

Sarah told him how she felt God had a plan for her, how she had meet the missionaries and here she was now in Utah. She told Brent the miracles in her life, how with no money she was now a full-time student, how with no job she was now employed with student faculty.

Brent shared with her while on his mission he had prayed with a poor widow who later shared with him that during the prayer she opened her eyes and saw an angel standing between him and his companion. This fascinated Sarah. She whole-heartedly believed it. Before she knew it, they were talking about the unseen world, heaven and angels. Time stood still. Instantly, she had a spiritual bond with this man. She looked out the car window and her heart soared as she marveled at the personal experiences they’d just shared.  

As a southern girl, one never over extends her time with anyone. Sarah was very aware that their time together should come to a close and understood a gracious exit was in order, so she finally turned the handle of the car door, quickly thinking of an excuse as to why she needed to leave so fast.

Impressing him with her culinary skills, she had an idea.

“I’m making dinner for my roommates, (which was actually Kraft macaroni and cheese) and need to get inside to bowl water.”

Bowl water?” Brent said with a twinkle in his eye. “What’s that?”

“Well, I’m making dinner and need to start with bowled water,” and she was trapped again in her world of thick Southern drawl. Looking into his dark brown eyes, she couldn’t stay focused on her determination to sound like she’d lived in Utah her entire life.

“Do you mean boil?” Brent asked and she knew he was teasing. Her southern grace was quickly dissolving like sugar in bowled, I mean boiled water.

As she shut the door and started walking up the stairs to her apartment, she suddenly knew why Brent had taken an interest in her. She was his new case study and he would probably write his dissertation about the strange girl from the hills of Tennessee, her unusual language and her quirky mannerisms.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Magnificent Chaos

by Kari Diane Pike

My friend Rozanne Workman described it best as "Magnificent Chaos," otherwise known as "life as Kari knows it at the moment."

Due to several months of unemployment, followed by the need for our landlord to move back into his house at the end of the school year -- our family moved into a pop-up tent trailer parked in my sister-in-laws driveway. We're not exactly homeless. We share the kitchen and one bathroom of the 80-year-old 800 square foot house. Our son shares a bedroom with his cousin and my husband and I sleep in one end of the trailer, while the two daughter's we have at home right now sleep in the other end. The dog sleeps in the kitchen of the house and the cat and the parakeet hang out in the trailer with me.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband finally landed a job in Coos Bay, Oregon. It seemed perfect. More importantly, it meant steady income and health insurance. Everything fell into place. Doug drove to Oregon last weekend and reported to work Monday morning. Early Tuesday morning he headed to Arizona.

He could not ignore the overwhelming impression that he was not supposed to move the family to Oregon. He literally became physically ill when he tried to dismiss his feelings, thinking he just needed to overcome the insecurities of starting a new job in a new place. After hours of pondering and praying, new thoughts formed in his mind. He felt a compelling urgency to get to Arizona as quickly as possible.When he focused on those thoughts, the illness left.

I cried. I fretted. I read my scriptures and prayed. I realized how spoiled I had become in Utah County to be able to run to the temple in less than 10 minutes. And then I felt peace.

It didn't hurt my feelings to have my daughters show up with the grans to distract me. I smiled when my Mom showed up with flowers and chocolate and the hug I needed. This morning, Doug had a phone call confirming a job offer in Phoenix. Nothing is set in stone yet, but it looks like he will start a new career, far different from the engineering and land development he has done in the past.

New and exciting things are coming from this magnificent chaos. It makes me marvel and ponder on how the world was created from disorganized matter. I can't wait to see what we are creating in our lives now! At least it gives me something to write about!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Creating, Revealing, Reflecting and Reinforcing.


By Jill Burgoyne

Storytelling is a form of creating and has been a part of humanity since the beginning. It has helped relate history and reinforce the ideals in any given society.

Somewhere between the 8th to 11th centuries, an anonymous poet authored a text which survives in a single manuscript known as the Nowell Codex. This piece of literature has become, perhaps, the most important Anglo Saxon text which still exists today.

The text is called Beowulf and it is written in Old English (which is a foreign language in relation to Modern English) about a Scandinavian Hero named Beowulf. Beowulf saves the Danes in Geatland from a monster, Grendel. He then also defeats Grendel's vengeful mother. Beowulf becomes King of the Geats and his demise is realized by a wound from a dragon-which he defeats. The poem then gives details of his burial and so forth. I have personally read it about 4 times in various classes for my English linguistics degree at ASU. Each class had a different focus, but it was typically accepted that this poem was representative of the societal and some religious values during that time period.

These values are supported by other works of literature, but how would you feel if you were that anonymous author? We don't know if the author was male or female (we assume it's a male poet) but we really have no idea. What if your creation was one of the only manuscripts or artifacts that survived from the world as we know it today?

If we could go two thousand years into the future, what would they say about our values? Copies of Twilight, Harry Potter, and various Disney titles are pretty prevalent. They might have some of the best chances of surviving time =). They could say that our world favors good conquering evil- generally. They might observe the 'evolution of the equality of men and women'. What would they say about our family values? What might they say about our views of death and dying?

Many thousands, even millions of stories are told and created every day and it seems to be that they reflect and reinforce what we consider as values. I love finding uplifting themes such as good conquers evil or dreams come true or marriages can work. I love storytelling and hearing stories, because these stories not only reveal individual thoughts and desires, but also hint at a greater picture.

What picture of history am I lighting with the words I write? Everyone creates. Whether you tell stories, choreograph dances, orchestrate music scores, create food dishes, paint on a canvas, or build a home for your family to live in, your creations contribute to the general condition of humanity.

On that note, I think I'll go create myself a snack while my two little girls are still napping and I can sneak an Oreo!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Getting to Know You - Part 2

By Tracy Astle

A big, fat, chocolate filled, or if you're more health conscious, fruit filled  THANK YOU to all who played along with my last post and introduced yourself. What fun!

In fact, I had such a good time reading all your responses and getting to know you that I have some more questions for you. I hope you're game again.

As I read over recent posts on this blog, a phrase that Susan Knight used really made my heart sing. She mentioned, "...getting my head out of the left hemisphere, where it dwells all day at work, and into my right mind." That's exactly how I feel. I appreciate my job enormously, but I work in an accounting office, a very left brained place where I do very left brained things. In my former life, meaning when I was a teenager, I majored in theatre. Now I'm working on a general studies degree with an emphasis in writing.

So, yes, after a day at work my right brain definitely feels like my right mind. My left brain? Not so much.

This leads to my questions of the week.
     1) What fills your daytime hours, say 8-5ish? (I'll tell you right now that two particular answers will fill me with jealousy joy at the fortuosity of your circumstances: being an at home wife/mom and/or writing professionally. If you get do both, I just may have to hurt you kiss your wonderful cheeks.)
     2) Does this activity fill your creative needs? (This isn't necessarily a yes or no question.)
     3) If you can't write during these hours, when and where do you write?
         (Can I just say that as prolifically as Jolene Perry writes, my guess is that she writes in her sleep? Or maybe she just doesn't require any sleep. You must tell us, Jolene.)

For me -
     1) As I mentioned, I work in an accounting office 8-5ish.
     2) Negative on the filling my creative needs.
     3) I write whenever the heck I can, usually too late at night at my kitchen table so I can be where the family is, that is until they go to bed, leaving me typing away.

Can't wait to hear from you again. And thanks in advance for playing.
   

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Do We Absorb What We Read . . . or Sing?

by Marsha Ward

A hymn we sang in church last week has been running through my head. I wonder if we ever pay attention to what the words of poems or lyrics of songs or hymns are meant to convey?

God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand
Hymn 78, Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985
Text: Daniel C. Roberts; Music: George W. Warren
God of our fathers,
whose almighty hand leads forth in beauty all the starry band of shining worlds in splendor through the skies,
Our grateful songs before thy throne arise.
See how that middle phrase goes on and on without a break? Look at what it says. When you take a breath or your mind pauses after the end of the line of music at "starry band," you lose all concept that it's a band of shining worlds God is leading forth that the lyricist was talking about.

Next time you sing this hymn, let your mind, if not your voice, continue the continuity of the phrase, and I promise you, your time spent singing it will become more meaningful.

Do you have a favorite hymn that causes you to think?


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ray Bradbury - A Great Inspiration!

By Cindy R. Williams

One of my favorite authors of sci-fi, mystery and humor, Ray Bradbury, passed away on June 5, at the transit of Venus. He was 91  years old.

If you're Ray Bradbury fan, that will make sense to you.

A few of his greats were Fahrenheih 451 and the Martian Chronicles.

I don't know too many facts about the man's personal life other than the only person he ever dated became his wife and they had four daughters. He won a Pulitzer. He wrote many, many books and seemed to be nice fellow.
I do know he said some inspiring things about writing.

Here are a few: 
 
“I don’t believe in being serious about anything. I think life is too serious to be taken seriously.”
"If you don't like what your doing, then don't do it."
"My stories run up and bite me on the leg- I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off."
" I spent three days a week for 10 years educating myself in the public library, and it's better than college.  People should educate themselves - you can get a compolete ecucations for no money. At the end of 10 years, I had read every book in the library and I'd written a thoughsand stories."
"I don't need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me."
“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.”

"Remember: Plot is more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations."

Friday, July 6, 2012

Timing

Timing is a funny thing. It can work for you or against you. Lately, my life seems to be on a timing schedule similar to what a person feels when they are learning to drive a stick shift. The term is commonly called "frogging" when the car lurches back and forth whilst the frantic driver tries to figure out how to get the clutch and gas to work together nicely.
One day (moment) it seems I have time to waste watching a decorating show with my daughter, the next day(moment) I am running at top speed to try and get paperwork in for school/wedding/business/blogging/etc.
One may say that I have issues in the 'time management' area, and that may be true. I prefer to blame my children. Living with six children who all seem to think they can have their owns wants, needs, desires, and schedules can really put a wrench in my plans. Seriously, how dare they?
All this being said, I am here to humbly apologize for missing my blog date. I was scheduled for Friday of last week....I think.....I decided that I would go and get married instead. I know, my priorities are whacked! Please forgive me and believe me when I say it won't happen again. At least the getting married part.
A brief intro to me, Beckie Carlson, would be as follows : Mom of six, widowed three years ago, grew up in Mesa, lived in almost all the Southern states, newly married, oldest of four, lover of creative energies in almost all forms, aspiring writer, and over all good egg if I say so myself.
Special thanks for the ANWA members that put together the recent retreat. I got a lot of work done and have hopes that my book will be finished before the end of the world now. yay!
I'm going to attempt to schedule posting of this post on the day it was meant to be but, the truth is in the pudding, or at least in the words here.....Happy writing day!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Something You Might Not Know About Me

by Susan Knight


 I must be crazy.

 OK. I am crazy. 

 That’s not the “something,” but it can go on the list.

 Last week my email opened to the post asking for ANWA Founder & Friends bloggers and, before I knew it, the finger on my mouse hit “reply” and then the rest of them typed, “I’d love to do it, Marsha.” Smiley face.
 That’s me. Type A. Miss Volunteer. Some might say “crazy.”

 Ulterior motives lurked deep down in my psyche, however. I am of the genus “semper procrastinus,” (always put off) but if I have a deadline, oh, I’m there.

Yes, this blogging thing will help me write. It will put this bohemian-minded, free spirit on a schedule. Look! I'm already typing--getting my head out of the left hemisphere, where it dwells all day at work, and into my right mind.

 Speaking of work . . . I am an office coordinator for the pharmacy department of a Utah health insurance company. It’s the number one place to work in Utah, voted on by its employees, including me. I feel so blessed to have that job. God is good.

 As it happens, last week we had a pharmacy team meeting. We have a lot of newcomers to the department. The committee who determines the agenda (of which I am a member, of course) decided to have everyone, whether newbie or oldie, stand up, introduce themselves, and tell one thing nobody knows about us.

 While the others stood up and sat down again, my memory time-traveled. I mean, I’m pretty old. I’ve led a very good and full life.  I’ve done almost everything I’ve ever wanted to do: acted on the stage, painted pictures, wrote songs, performed those songs in a band, a trio and even solo on the piano and guitar. I even sang on a Broadway stage one time (funny story—for later), danced at Lincoln Center, taught piano lessons, art and calligraphy classes—real calligraphy; the kind where you study manuscripts written in Latin.

 My co-workers took turns enlightening us. A father of five, a grandmother of ten, piano players and lovers of sports succinctly pronounced their tidbits of information. I was almost last.

 "What should I tell them?" I wondered. 

“I won a Keystone Award for journalism.”

 Most people in Utah might not know that Pennsylvania is the Keystone State. Philadelphia and all that history, you know, where America was born? It’s the state that held all the other . . .  oh, never mind. I don’t think anybody in the room knew what I was talking about either. Their blinking, blank eyes gave it away.

 Pharmacists and techs, who live every moment in left-brain thought, filled the room. They could not fathom that I had the perfect job one time: a newspaper reporter—my ideal identity. I wrote to my heart's content every day.

Winning that award was one of my proudest moments. I came in second in the state for a feature article I wrote. I think I floated across that stage in Harrisburg to accept my plaque and shake the hand of somebody very important, probably. 
Proudest Moment--That's me, in red, getting ready to shake "Somebody's" hand.
 The award is somewhere in one of the boxes in the basement of my new house. It hasn’t been unpacked yet because of my unfortunate accident (broken/mangled ankle—long story—be careful on ladders).

 Though many past tense, has-been claims flitted across my mind that day last week, the one thing on my bucket list, yet to be accomplished, is to have my first novel published. It’s why I joined ANWA.

Information from the chapter meetings, emails, website, newsletter and Facebook is invaluable. ANWA members have been very kind to me. I feel buoyed up, loved, inspired to be a better writer.

 With that said, I heartily accept this blogging challenge. Chin up. Back straight. Hands poised over keyboard. There’s no trepidation—well, maybe slight trepidation—OK, a lot of trepidation.

 Nevertheless, I will see you here every other Thursday. Deadlines are good.

I can say I’ll do my best, but I can’t say I’ll hit the ground running, because, well, it’s hard to run with a crutch. Smiley face.