Thanksgiving Thursday 10/5/17

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This week I am so thankful for my creative writing students. I do love teaching writing classes. If I can give writers even one or two things that help them become better at their craft, or just help them enjoy it more, or continue writing when the going’s a bit rough, it makes me feel terrific. And so often working on the lessons for my classes — and trying to find ways to help them — challenges and stretches me as a writer too.

I’m keeping today’s post on the short side because I need to devote as much time as possible to preparing for my writing class this evening. So I’ll leave my thoughts more brief than usual — but my gratitude is definitely not at all on the short side.

Remember, if you have something you’re particularly grateful for today — or any time this week — feel free to share a link here in the “Comments” section, so we can read your ‘thanksgiving’ post as well.

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Witty Little Ditty – Daily Post Prompt

 

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I must compose a witty little ditty.
It’s for the daily posty prompty thingy.
The problem is the prompt’s so very ‘daily,’
But I will meet the challenge of it gaily.

Now, to choose a subject for my ditty.
I don’t want it to sound too flighty-flitty.
Perhaps I’ll write of love — so very pretty,
Or courage in the face of danger — gritty.

No, on the other hand, this little prompty
Is starting now to aggravate my tummy.
So maybe I’ll hold off and have a thinky,
Before I write this posty prompty thingy.


Daily Post Prompt: Witty

 

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So Excited About This Little Book

CAPTURED BY CINQUAIN AMAZON COVER - frontYes, it’s just a little book — only 68 pages — but it’s the first book I’ve ever done that’s totally devoted to cinquain. As most of you, my readers, know, I fell in love with this unique American poetic form a couple years ago, and since then I’ve written cinquain on almost every subject under the sun.

So if you enjoy poetry — and having fun with it — you’ll probably enjoy this book. It was just launched today on Amazon. You’ll find a very short sample on the Amazon site, and many of you have read most of the poems that are in it as I’ve created them and published them individually on this very blog. But so many were written a couple years ago, that I don’t think you’ll find it boring to revisit them —- that is if you enjoy that form of poetry to begin with.

Anyway, you can find the book HERE  in paperback for only $4.95. (I should probably tell you that some of the poems have accompanying pictures, and the Amazon sample shows those pictures in color. However, the actual book has black & white pics.)

 


 

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Daily Post Prompt: ‘As the Plot Unravels’ – a short story

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MAN AT DESK b & w“I don’t know what to do,” Neville groaned, rubbing his hands roughly over his face. Then he pushed his laptop out of the way and leaned both elbows onto the coffeehouse table, propping his chin in his hands.

“What’s wrong?” Clarence, the waiter bussing the table next to Neville’s, turned to question him

Neville looked up, startled. “Oh … blast … I didn’t realize I had said that out loud. Sorry,” he added looking sheepishly around the room to see if other customers had heard. He was relieved to see that Elixir of Life Coffeehouse was having one of its quieter days.

“No problem,” Clarence answered and walked over to Neville’s table. “Can I get you a refill?”

“Yeah, that would be great,” Neville answered, handing the boy his cup. “It’s been a rough writing day.”

The young man returned in record time with Neville’s refill and stayed to talk a moment. “Do you have what they call writer’s block?”

“No.” Neville shook his head and continued. “No, Clarence. This isn’t writer’s block. In fact, I almost wish I did have that dreaded condition. My problem isn’t that I can’t get the story to move along. This story is moving along at an incredible pace. The problem is that it’s writing itself, and my original plot is unraveling as fast as I can put my fingers to the keys.”

“You mean you’re not in control of your own story?” Clarence looked at Neville as if he had lost his mind — just a little. And that made Neville laugh.

“Don’t worry, my boy,” he said. “I’ve not gone bonkers yet. And … thanks for making me laugh. It helps. But to answer your question, no, I’m not in control of my own story.”

“Well, how does that happen?” Clarence asked, really into this new information he was being exposed to.

“Well it’s not too unusual for a writer to get into a novel and find that one of his characters seems to gravitate in a direction other than what he had originally planned — or that the story seems to be flowing toward an ending that’s different from what he jotted down in his outline. But what’s happening in my story is different.”

“How?”

Neville shook his head and sighed. “I’m not sure how it’s happened, but every character seems to be taking on a brand new identity and making his own decisions. The guy I had pegged as the hero has suddenly become the villain, and the woman he loves is rapidly developing feelings for his best friend — which means he will probably end up killing his best friend — he’s already entertained the idea — and maybe even offing the woman as well.”

“But does it matter who ends up being the villain and the hero — I mean — as long as you have one of each, it’ll come out even, right?”

Neville chuckled. “Well, it’s not quite that easy. My publisher assigned me a contract to do a specific kind of story. One that will be a believable sequel to my last three novels. They were moneymakers, and I’d hate to mess up a record like that. I spent the money I made on them, and now I need more.” He rubbed his face agitatedly again. “Besides that, I’d be breaking my contract if I didn’t give them what I guaranteed.”

“MmMmm, you do have a problem,” Clarence said, so engulfed in the conversation now that he just sat right down at the table beside Neville.  They both sat in silence for a moment, and then Clarence asked, “Well, why don’t you just delete all that part that changed and go back to your first chapter and start over on the story you intended to write. That would take care of it wouldn’t it?”

“Well, that’s the other problem. I’ve totally lost track of the story I intended to write … and besides ….” He paused and glanced off to the side, lost in thought for a long moment. Clarence waited, figuring Neville was trying to work out a plan.

Suddenly Neville looked back at Clarence with a smile on his face. He looked serene rather than agitated, and Clarence was a little confused. “You figure something out? How to stop this runaway story?”

“Nope,” Neville said, grinning wider. “I’m not going to stop this story, Clarence.”

“Huh?”

Neville reached over and rested his hand on Clarence’s shoulder. “Clarence, my boy, I’ve made a decision. I’m going to give this story my whole heart and soul and let it lead me wherever it wants to go.”

“But what about your contract and all?”

“Blast the contract,” Neville said, beginning to close up his laptop and slip his notes into his briefcase. “If that publisher can’t see the truth about the value of this story, then he can sue me.”

“But –”

“No more ‘but’s‘ my boy,” Neville answered, rising from his chair, laptop under his arm. “This is the best damn story I’ve ever written in my life, and I’ve just decided I’m free enough to give my creativity its own head and let it take me to my destiny.”

He slapped down his last five dollar bill as a tip for Clarence and headed out the door, whistling.


To participate visit Daily Post.

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Daily Post Prompt: Meaningless

MAN WITH BIG EYES


MEANINGLESS WORDS

Meaningless words are so absurd.
The most absurd I’ve ever heard.
Now, I don’t mean to be a nerd;
And insult I have not inferred.
But, really, when I’m quite unstirred
By words whose meanings are deferred,
My reading seems like riding herd
On crazy cattle who’ve been spurred.
All sanity and sense are slurred
By meaningless words that are absurd.


You can take part in today’s prompt by visiting Daily Post

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Breaking the Mold

BOOKS - darker with symbolSome of the happiest hours of my life have been spent reading great inspirational fiction. But during the past couple of decades, I’ve noticed a trend in that genre that troubles me deeply – not to mention that it takes the fun out of reading inspirational romance and mystery novels. What I’ve been seeing is that nearly every major publishing house now has a mold into which they force every Christian novel – with characters that are carbon copies of scores of characters before them, and with a plot that requires characters to meet within a certain number of pages and to carry out specific types of actions within a certain number of chapters – and worst of all – with themes that carry the reader into the erroneous doctrines of man’s traditions rather than the pure Word of God.

I’ve failed to find one inspirational novel in the past several years that does not promote the erroneous belief that God is behind every single thing that happens in our lives and, therefore, is behind all of the trouble, afflictions, sickness, hurt, and heartache that we undergo. The doctrine that says God deliberately allows (sanctions) those things in our lives in order to teach us something or bring us into a more Christlike character is rampant throughout the Christian bookstore shelves. Now, let’s not beat around the bush: If God deliberately allows those evils when He has the power and the know-how to restrain them it is exactly the same thing as His putting those things in our lives Himself. That teaching goes against everything Jesus Christ taught and lived.

I don’t intend this biographical vignette to be a major Bible lesson, but I will say here that the Word of God is extremely clear for the New Covenant believer that God says He is not in control of all things, and in fact He does not get His own way about a lot of things. He wants all men to be saved, but they will not be. Jesus taught us by His own personal example that God wants all the sick to be healed as well, because He never refused one sick person who came to Him for healing. Moreover, He sent out His disciples to visit the surrounding towns and to heal every sick person in those towns – announcing to them as they did so that they were experiencing the Kingdom of God in that deliverance and healing. He wanted the people in His own hometown to be healed as well, but His Word tell us clearly that He “could not” do any mighty miracles because of their unbelief.

God does not want us to suffer from sickness, deadly storms, earthquakes, accidents, or any number of other horrible destructive forces. But we experience them simply because we live in a cursed world where sin has opened the door to those things, and most of us do not yet have enough of a handle on God’s Word to be living every aspect of our lives according to it. But none of that is God’s plan for us. If it were, He wasted His breath when He breathed out Psalm 91 to the Psalmist and had it included in the canon of the Holy Bible.

So the Christian novels that promote the teaching that it is actually part of God’s will and plan for us to suffer the kinds of things Jesus delivered people from is simply another attempt by man to cop out of our personal responsibility to study and learn God’s Word for ourselves and then to believe it for ourselves. If we can blame God for all the problems we’re facing, we don’t have to take any responsibility for their cause or their cure either one. It’s convenient for the lazy believer, but it is a pack of lies about our God.

His Word also tells us clearly that He has given us His Word, His promises, and His Holy Spirit that will impart to us “all things pertaining to life and godliness” and will create into us the Divine nature of God. The teaching that problems, hardships, and heartaches create the Divine nature of Jesus Christ in us is a direct contradiction of God’s personal Word on the subject. Yet hundreds of inspirational novels that have lined the bookstore shelves for years now keep preaching that demonically inspired theme again and again.

So when the Lord called me to write inspirational novels, He called me to write stories that were true to His Word and that presented Him in the light of what Jesus showed us daily in His time with us on the earth. Jesus said He spoke only what the Father wanted Him to speak and He did only the works that the Father wanted Him to do. So I make every effort in my inspirational novels to show God doing exactly what Jesus did and said. And because He’s still the same “yesterday, today, and forever,” I show Him doing and saying the same things in the everyday lives of ordinary believers in the 21st century.

It’s past time for us to have some inspirational novels that don’t fit the molds. It’s time for stories that show us what it’s really like to live in the 21st century with a God who is just like Jesus Christ.

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Seven Reasons I Love Blogging

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1) Meeting people and making friends from around the world.

2) Taking part in all kinds of writing challenges that force me to get out of my comfort zone and stretch myself as a writer.

3) Opportunities to share my thoughts and beliefs with people I’d never have a chance to communicate with through any other medium.

4) Communicating with other extraordinarily creative people. Creativity begets creativity, so my own creative gifts are strengthened and stretched by that communication.

5) Opportunities to present some of my work and receive honest feedback from my peers.

6) Opportunities to lift and lighten someone else’s day by positive things I’m able to share.

7) Opportunities to make myself available to other writers and artists who would like to draw from my years of experience in the field of journalism and literature.


I’d be delighted to hear from some of the rest of you about why you love blogging. Just post your thoughts in the “Comments” section below — or if you want to write a whole post on your own site, you can share the link to it.

 

 

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Daily Post Prompt: Hyperbole

woman-megahoneHyperbole: It’s just exaggeration.
But not with the intention to deceive.
It ‘s just to make a point or emphasize,
A unique way to help someone to see.

To say the man I love is ten feet tall,
To say I’ve walked a million miles today,
To say when she stands sideways, she’s invisible –
That’s speaking in a hyperbolic way.

Of course, some people use it far to often.
And sometimes it’s as bad as old cliches.
But now and then hyperbole is perfect,
And adds a touch of ‘bling’ to what we say.


 

To participate in the challenge visit the Daily Post.

 

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Daily Post Prompt: Silence

Today’s prompt is “Silence.”  I originally wrote the piece below well over a year ago. But it fits the prompt so perfectly that I am giving it a second airing.

 

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THE SONG OF SILENCE

My fingers touched the keys of silence, and I played its song. It pulled from me a longing that I thought was gone forever – the yearning to release my soul in flowing words that birth new life in images and sounds that intertwine and reach another soul and draw it close to mine.

I feared my well was dry, my soul an empty sieve, and that I’d nevermore know a yearning to create with words that live.

Ah … now …  the peace, the solace that replaces fear. For now I know I have it still – the gift to make words living things. All it took was spending time with silence for a while, and as it’s music played, it filled my well again.

 

 

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100-Word Challenge for Grownups # 186

Julia has offered us another 100-word challenge this week with the following prompt:

“… looking back, I remember …”

I have to confess that I’ve cheated a tad. I’m about 19 words over, but I just didn’t have any more time to spend cutting it down further.

 

COMPUTER READING - TRQUS

STARTING OVER

“Looking back, I remember how easy everything was – especially communication.”
“Tell me, Grandpa.”
“Computers ran everything, including phones and automobiles.”
“Really!”
“And almost everyone could be reached by Internet.”
“I’ve heard about Internet.”
“It’s been twenty-two years since the grids went down.”
“And that shut everything down?”
“Yep. Nothing could be manufactured, vehicles couldn’t run, almost all communication shut down. Our nation had been attacked by E-bombs, and our irresponsible government had no back-ups.”
“Did we fight back?”
“Couldn’t. No way to fire missiles, no planes. And once we were down, other free nations were attacked. The whole free world reduced to walking, writing with wooden pencils, and bartering goods for food and water. Grandson … your generation has a big job ahead of it.”

 

 

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Share Your World 2016 – Week 14

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Cee’s Share Your World challenge is a great way to get to know fellow bloggers and let them get to know you. If you’ve never participated, try it. You’ll like it. Besides, it gives you a chance to talk about yourself all you want and not feel guilty for doing so.

 

Question # 1: If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work?

Definitely with yard work!  I hate to do yard work, and my yard needs it desperately.
Bah Humbug!!!

 

Question # 2:  What makes you laugh the most?

Myself. No —- just kidding. I’d have to say Old Andy Griffith shows that featured Don Knotts.  I can just be thinking about some of those scenes, and I’ll start laughing right out loud — even though I can quote some whole scenes line for line, I still find them hilarious. (See video at end of this post for a sample.)

 

Question # 3:  What was your favorite food when you were a child?  

Okay, I know you all EXPECT me to say chocolate.  But I’m not going to do that.  The truth is that I just like food — lots of food — and almost all kinds of food. About the only things I can’t stand to eat are turnips, hominy, and head cheese. I honestly don’t remember if I had a favorite as a child, but if I did, it was probably potatoes, because, to this day, I love potatoes in any shape or form. I can eat them hot or cold or even lukewarm — boiled, fried, baked, mashed, or hashed.

 

Question # 4  List at least 5 favorite flowers or plants.

Okay some of my favorites — in order of preference — are as follows:

Daisies

Blue Spruce Trees

Maple Trees

Oak Trees

Mums

 

Bonus Question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the coming week?

I’m grateful for all the chocolate Easter candy that was on sale for half price or less last week.

Next week, I’m looking forward to having some time off from teaching so many classes at one time. Everybody needs a little rest now and then, and maybe, with my “spare time,” I can finish the novel I’m posting one chapter at a time on here.

 

Here’s the video that goes with Question # 2.

 

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Recipe for Creative Writing: A Quiet Corner, a Cup of Coffee, & Chocolate

What?  You don’t think I’m serious about this recipe? Well, I assure you that I am. In fact, I’ve been writing — very successfully, I might add — for many years now using these ingredients on a regular basis.

BLACK TYPEWRITER w. quiet1. A Quiet Corner:

I must have quiet when I’m creating.  If I’m simply relaxing — or doing housework — or eating — I often enjoy listening to music, a TV program, or a lesson on a subject that interests me. But if I am intent on creating something with words, I do not want any conversation or music whirling around me. I want to be closed into my own private world — just me and my words — until I have received conception of and given birth to that brand new entity that has been waiting on me to bring it into the world. So this ingredient is a must.

2. A Cup of Coffee:

COFFEE STEAMING - REDMy, there’s just nothing that quite equals the soothing, uplifting aroma of fresh-brewed coffee. And I’m tired of hearing all the uninformed critics out there who try to make coffee drinkers feel guilty because there is an element of caffeine in coffee. I have always maintained that, since the Lord told us in Genesis that He made the seed-bearing trees and plants for us to eat, then we should be able to partake of coffee with a clear conscience and a happy heart. And let’s not forget that God made the coffee bean with the caffeine in it. We human beings did not add the caffeine the way we add so many artificial ingredients into our food. That caffeine must have some good qualities in it, or the Lord would not have put it into the bean in the first place.

Furthermore, there have been numerous medical and scientific experiments done over the past half dozen years that prove coffee has many beneficial qualities for the human body — everything from quickening our brain function to eliminating headaches as quickly as aspirin to protecting the body against several kinds of cancer and heart problems. Naturally, nothing is good for our bodies if we partake of way too much of it, to the exclusion of other important elements. But in moderation, coffee is a great blessing. And considering the fact that, in my family, a good cup of coffee has always been associated with family togetherness, wonderful fellowship, and comforting relaxation, coffee is, for sure, a substantial ingredient in the recipe.

3. Chocolate:

BOX OF CHOCOLATESAs with coffee, the medical field has grown in its understanding over the past decade concerning chocolate. Researchers in the field have learned that chocolate has many helpful — and healthful — benefits for our bodies. Again, we remember that everything we ingest is most helpful when taken in moderation. But there’s one more quality associated with chocolate that we must add to our evaluation of it. We need to consider the connotations associated with that delicious treat — you know: mother’s love, romantic love, comfort, and a little extra surge of energy. Now, given all those positives, why would anyone want to leave chocolate out of the recipe?

Combine all ingredients in whatever ratios make you happy.

So there you have it folks. There’s just no other recipe quite so perfect for the dedicated, committed creative writer. And if you haven’t yet tried this particular recipe, you should. You’ll be surprised at just how well you write when you partake of these ingredients.

 

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