I've been writing again in addition to journaling, thanks to bff G & I resuming our weekly writing exchange this month and my kicking my arse into gear with the private online writing group I moderate. (I can't tell you how good it feels to be writing again!) Here are two pieces from this week.
Prompt (from private online writing group): Write a piece (fiction, non, poem, essay, etc) in which you use the following words: frozen, shaded, frustrated, feather, animated, distant.
(fiction) The day after a snow storm usually consists of a brilliant blue and cloudless sky, wind and bitter cold temperatures, and abundant sunshine. Today was no exception. Sophie found herself shading her eyes against the glare with her hand when she looked out on the frozen lake. It, like everything else, was blanketed with fresh snow that had stopped in the early hours before dawn. She smiled when she saw prints in the snow going across the lake from their front yard where the boat and canoe were overturned on the shore. Deer, fox and kitty prints. (There was a new stray in the area). Maybe rabbit or squirrel too but it was too hard to tell from where she stood in the living room. No bear prints though, not this morning.
Sophie finished bundling up ala Ralphie's little brother in A Christmas Story and stepped outside, closing the door behind her with a loud click that echoed across the lake. Animated bird chatter filled the air around her as Cardinals, Dark-Eyed Junko's, Black Capped Chickadees and Tufted Titmouses (or is Titmice the actual plural?) gathered in the bushes and trees around the yard, hiding from the gusty wind. She headed down the drive way, each footstep crunching the snow beneath her boots. Thankfully there was a general store close to the house that she could walk to if need be. There wasn't anything she or her husband Ben desperately needed from the store but Sophie desperately needed to get out of the house! Four snow storms in two weeks had her cooped up and frustrated.
She looked down and saw a turkey feather lying in the road. She picked it up and thought she heard a distant gobble, though it could have been her imagination. She smiled and felt her body begin to relax.
Prompt: From bff G's "Writing Creative Nonfiction" book: "Take 3 disparate objects at random from your purse, your backpack, your shelves. Set them in front of you and begin writing, allowing 15 minutes for each object. See if there is a common image or theme you can use to bind these together." (I attached pics to the email I sent G so she could see what I was writing about).
I’m picking items from my ‘reading/writing/knitting’ basket.
It’s one of those organizer bins I picked up from Bed Bath & Beyond a couple of years ago, made from fabric with horizontal stripes in shades of olive green, light blue, tan and red. It holds my current knitting projects (2 at this moment), planner, journal, writing notebook, books I’m currently reading or hope to get to soon and a few magazines (Artful Blogging, Country Living (US and British Editions) and Period Living, another British magazine).
I’m going to start with one of the books, a novel entitled Where The Heart Is by Billie Letts. (Hold on now, I read it way before it was an Oprah bookclub pick or a movie!)
This was the first “Southern Lit” novel I read as an “adult” (I was 20) and one of the first adult novels in general that I actually liked. (While I was in love with practically every book, short story and play I’d read in high school and college up to that point, I found my personal transition from YA books to adult books very difficult, though, oddly enough, I didn’t seem tot find the transition from teen to adult nearly as difficult!) Anyhoo, I remember the day I bought WTHI. It was a balmy late Winter day, one of the first after a long and snowy season, a brief taste of Spring. I was upset over a job I wanted not working out, so I got myself on a bus to the mall (back when I didn't loathe malls!) to do a little comfort shopping. I bought WTHI (and She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb, another fantastic novel) in paperback at the Walden Books. (Remember that chain?!) I also recall buying a buttercup yellow cable knit sweater and a stuffed yellow M&M guy! (Yellow was my comfort color back then). Anyhow, I fell in love with WTHI that very afternoon when I started reading it in my old livingroom, windows open wide to the sweet smelling air and my life long love affair with the Southern Lit genre was cemented.
I lucked into a hardback copy at the thrift shop last year, one that has the same cover as my well loved, falling apart paperback from 1996. How someone could let this novel go, I haven’t the foggiest, but I’m glad I found it. I also love the movie. It’s not as good as the book and they changed things I wasn’t happy with when I first saw it, but it was still better than I expected it to be. I watched it the other night (found it while flipping channels) and before it ended, I felt the overwhelming urge to re-read it (again!) so I got out of bed, went to my “favorites” bookcase by the mantle in the livingroom and brought it back to bed with me.
I’d never read “contemporary” Southern lit before my first reading of WTHI. I’d read “classics” like Huck Finn and To Kill A Mockingbird and short stories by Eudora Welty and Flannery O’ Connor (sometimes referred to as “Southern Gothic”) and I didn’t read Gone With The Wind until the end of 2010 (which I didn’t care for). Billie Letts’ writing is simple, beautiful and transportive (for me that is). This book (WTHI) brought me home. I’m not sure if that makes any sense or not but it’s still how I feel every time I open it. Oh sure, I’m getting all teary eyed so I’ll just move on to the next item!
Next is my current issue of Artful Blogging magazine.
It’s been a guilty pleasure I’ve relished since first discovering it in the Spring of 2009. (I say “guilty pleasure” because it’s pricey, now $15.99 an issue which is up a dollar since I started reading it). Vic got me a subscription to it last Christmas and renewed it this Christmas. (And you only save 5 cents getting it via subscription (LOL!) but at least I’m guaranteed to get it every month – it was getting chancey at AC Moore and B&N). It comes out every 3 months and I read each issue a little at a time throughout, savoring & stretching it until it’s time to start the new one.
Here’s something I bet you didn’t know about me: I love blogging! (Shocking news, am I right?!) I enjoy the heck out of every aspect of it from tinkering with my header, layout and background to posting. And I have bff G to thank for introducing me to it! (And goodreads). I didn’t like it at first though, nor did I like my first blog (long ago deleted). I over thought it (another piece of shocking information I’m sure) and worried too much what someone would think if they read it so I didn’t write it for Me. (Big mistake when it comes to a personal blog in my book – now a business blog however is an entirely different animal altogether and does need to cater to the reader I think). Once we moved here (December 2005) and got a new (used) computer that February (2006), I gave blogging another try and it was love at second blog! (Instead of love at first sight… Oh come on, it’s worth a smile!)
I love Artful Blogging because it’s written for blogger’s by blogger’s. Each piece features a different blogger in their own words using their images from their blog. Some write on what they think is the best way to do a blog, most write on how/why they started blogging, how it’s enhanced/changed/become a part of their lives and why they love it. (Those are the pieces I like best). It’s inspirational!
Now for my 3rd item, I had some trouble trying to pick and decided on my Winter journal. It’s my favorite of all my seasonal journals.
In 2005, to try and combat my profuse journal boredom and figure out a way to actually fill an entire volume, I started buying one journal for each of the four seasons and only writing in each for that season. (Roughly three months at a time). It’s worked out well!
This Winter journal I can’t wait to get writing in again as Fall comes to an end and hate to put it away when Spring comes. There’s just something about it. (Sorry to use a clichéd saying but it fits). I love writing it! It’s a comforting and positive place to be. I found it at Marshall’s a few years ago when I wasn’t even looking for one. (That’s how I usually find clothes too, neither of which I like to go shopping specifically for).
There’s definitely a common theme binding these things together: Reading & writing and my love for both. They are big parts of me and my life.
Pop over to New Jersey Through My Eyes for recent Wordless Wednesday and other photo posts.