Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Cup Runneth Over

Somehow, in one way or another, I end up writing (even if in brief) about coffee in my blogs.

This is a habit (not just the writing, but drinking) for a lot of writers, because it really may be the only thing keeping us in our chair -- trying to do what we were called to do -- but suffering horribly at times because of that enormous wall called “writer’s block.”

But this post isn’t about walls, and blocks and such. It’s again, about the coffee. Did you know that Swedes (as in the folks of Sweden) are the highest coffee drinkers per capita in the world?

My maiden name is Swedish, even though I’m a mix of all things European. And a whopping ¼ of me is Finnish. Though Finland isn’t Sweden, it IS next door to it. And I think that counts as a good explanation as to why I love the black gold so much.

This picture is of my most favorite coffee mug in the world. My blog friends Erica and Christy are having a blogfest about coffee cups today. Each blogger is supposed to post their favorite cup and why it is their favorite. That's pretty darn unique and clever of them -- not at all like my cup.

My mug is simple, a lot like me. There are no frills or fluff. Not that I’d mind a frill or two. But, you know what I really love about this cup? The size. It’s not 8 ounce or 10 ounce or 20 million ounces. It’s only 6. It holds just the right amount of coffee and I can drink it in the right amount of time before it gets cold. A little half and half, and I’m really doing great.

The thickness of the cup is key too. Not too thin, not too thick, just right. I think the coffee is actually better from this cup than any other in my kitchen. No really. It truly tastes better.

This cup is from the 1950’s as well, so we’re talking vintage here. Called Fire King, and made by the Anchor Hocking glassware company, this is not just a mug -- but a treasure. And I’m taking care of it. I’d like to believe this cup is taking care of me too.

The third resolution from my New Year's post is for all of us to have our writing “be just what the editor was looking for.” With this cup in one hand, and my other on the keyboard, I’m bound to keep writing -- and rewriting-- to where this (an editor fawning over my words) is an actuality. I may have to put the cup down for a bit to work both my hands. But hey, that’s good too.

Blood, sweat and coffee (or maybe for you, it's tea or something else.) This is what writing is all about! And when I am in the midst of my work, I really do feel like my cup runneth over. Running over with coffee, ideas and blessings.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Music and Me

So, this post is about music. Why? Because author extraordinaire Alex J. Cavanaugh is doing a music blogfest. For those who chose to sign up and write about this subject, like me, we get the opportunity to muse about the top ten songs that have inspired us the most over our life.

This is a rather subjective and varied blog idea, because sometimes the strangest music can inspire us, or move us, or allow us to remember a time or place or moment or person ... for the rest of our lives!

And that is also why it is such a grand idea to make a list of the most inspirational songs: to remember, to pontificate, and think about such like: Wow, that song was awful, but I sure loved it!

Warning: This list is going to be majorly filled with eighties music. Why? Again, for the reasons listed above. I was age "ten and up" in the mid-eighties. Talk about an inspirational and impressionable time of anyone's life!

Because of that, I feel the eighties were good to me. And I don't mean in the leg-warmer, semi-permed-hair or poufy-prom-dress-sleeves kind of way. I was all of those things, by the way. But the music, like literature, transcends decades or time (though, those keyboards are nowhere to be found) -- even today.

Here's that list:

1. Take on Me: A-Ha -- This reminds me of skating rink parties and that cute boy who didn't give a darn about me. Still love this song today (but, not the boy).

2. Sign Your Name: Terence Trent D'Arby -- Woah. Haven't heard that name in a while. Why this song? Because it was cool ... and it was tied to another big crush of mine. Moving on.

3. Thriller: Michael Jackson --You'd have to have lived under a rock if you can't agree. Yes, it's super-eighties. So what. I loved it. Still do.

4. Lead me On: Amy Grant -- She had a big thing going in the eighties. Still has a following today, and I love her stuff, but this song ROCKED!

5. Who's that Girl: Madonna -- I know, I know. I don't really like her either. But, this song was so incredible when it came out. It still gives me those eighties chills when I hear it today.

6. You give Love a Bad Name: Bon Jovi -- Yes, I still love this song, and yes Bon Jovi is still cute.

7. Man in the Mirror: Michael Jackson -- Not only an amazing, heart-felt song, but a life changing one as well. Who didn't hear this song and think about what they could change about themselves?

8. Tonight: Genesis -- Wow, such a techno cool song.

9. The Final Countdown: Europe -- I had completely forgotten about how great this song was, until I heard it on a commercial. This has to be a part of my musical youth.

10. Billie Jean : Michael Jackson -- I would be remiss not to include it. With that amazing bass line, it haunts me everywhere I go.  Never done before, never done since. A great song.

There you have it. Me in an eighties bottle. And I wouldn't change it a bit.

Now, where did I put my jelly shoes?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Carpel Tunnel Be Gone

Okay, so as my second resolution stated from the January 1st post, I don't wish anyone to acquire carpel tunnel from writing. That's not only painful, but really sad.

However, if you did happen to get sore wrists, say without the Carpel Tunnel, then that may be a good thing for this year.

Why? Because it means you are spending a whole lot of time doing what you told yourself you should do: write!

The literal act of writing is probably one of the hardest things anyone will ever do--even for "authors" too (crazy people who want to make a living through writing.)

But, take your plumber, or your firefighter, or your teacher and make them sit down to write a book, and really, they're not going to want to do it either. Writing, creating a world, visualizing dialogue and characters, scenery and hidden plots, well that's practically like coming up with an organized way to take over the world. It's that complicated.

Yet, it isn't impossible (the writing, that is). It's all about working those wrists, even if it potentially begins Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. See, writing is a discipline that even writers don't want to work on. Yes, they may want the book written. Yes, they may have great content. They may even be one of the best, florid and prolific writers of this century, but if the clickety-clack of the keyboard keys aren't clickety-clackying, then the reality of you churning a book out of thin air just isn’t going to happen.

Making myself write is hard, and sore wrists may potentially be a side effect, but if that's all that's stopping me, then I’m the only one stopping myself!

Here's what to do to overcome your block or that little voice that says you having nothing good to say, or that you can't write worth a hill of beans.

1. Sit down.

2. Open your online document -- your blank piece of paper (or your spiral notebook.)

3. Write. Anything, everything, characters, a list of feelings, your outline, or dialogue. Start with something, then later get an outline, and begin your work of art!

Who knows, if you ease into this writing thing -- like start with a few hundred words a day, then work up to a few thousand-- you won't get carpel Tunnel at all! You really do want to take care of your wrists so that when you are an author, you have your precious wrists to write even greater things ... or if you're like me, good wrists to wring out laundry, take the dog for a walk, or weed the garden.

Whatever it is -- wringing, walking, weeding or writing -- get busy doing the writing and be happy that you are fulfilling a goal.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Changing the World with Your Writing

Remember how my last post listed "resolution" type blessings on your writing life? Well, I want to get into those blessings with a little more detail.

This week, it's the "May your minds be full of creative, change-the-world-with-your-story- ideas" aspect.

I know. You may think I'm kidding, or that I wrote that one as a joke. But as far-fetched as it sounds, it isn't a joke.

Realistically, a change-the-world story is a crazy concept. We don't necessarily know what and how to change the world; or if what we write will make a difference to anybody. Can we change the world? Should we try to change the world?

Well, if you are passionate about what you write, then (and this is the kicker) it doesn't matter. What you have to do-- as a writer wanting to write something worth ... something -- is make sure that your words are as truthful, honest, heart-felt and real to what you feel and believe as possible.

If you are happy with this, if you are true to your beliefs, if you are writing to the best of your abilities, then who is to say or know that your work couldn't change the world? I'd like to think that if you work hard, keep a creative mind and an open heart to writing something that will help people-- even if it is small, or barely noticeable-- then you already have changed the world.

You are doing your good deeds; you are carrying your cross. You are trying to make a difference.

If you aren't doing this, perhaps you should. Maybe this small move will improve your chances of success (i.e. publication, whether online or in print). And if you already are doing this, then keep at it. Believe in your words, remain dedicated to your stories, and whether you become the next best seller, or influence only ten people with your story or article, you will be successful.

Success, to me, is simply helping or making one person happy, even if this takes years to accomplish.

And even if that one person is you.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy 2011

Wishing you a wonderful new year for all of you writers, readers and bloggers.
  • May your minds be full of creative, change-the-world-with-your-story- ideas.
  • May Carpel Tunnel Syndrome not set in until late, like after Thanksgiving, of this year.
  • May everything you write have that "just what the editor was looking for" quality.
  • May editing be your favorite --well, at least one of your favorites --hobby this year.
  • May reading "for fun" actually happen more than twice this year (and not while at the dentist).
  • May your new year resolutions have something to do with writing an actual letter by hand!
  • May your coffee (or tea) pot remain full, pressed in, running over and never-ending.
Now seriously, blessings and God's favor on your life this year.