Friday, January 25, 2013

By Any Other Name

HB is supine under the glass coffee table. She’s suction-cupped an arrow to the underside, tied a purple ribbon around it, shone a flashlight toward it, and is needling the eraser end of a pencil into a spot only she can see.

HB puts the buddies in peril (request permission for use)
She reaches her hand out toward me and says, “so-shu.”

I place a new tool in her hand.

A few more seconds of toil and then the hand is out again. “Mer-shoy,” she says.

I give her another tool, a wooden block. She presses it against the spot with one hand, pulls it away, inspects the work, then tries it again.

She hands back the Mershoy and opens her palm.

“Lik-trish,” she says.

I lay a purple plastic ring in her hand.

“No,” she says, “LIK-trish.”

“Sorry,” I say, and replace the purple bracelet with a pink one. She accepts the pink one and turns her attention back to the table.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Just write: 2013 Short Story Challenge

I’ll just go ahead and say it: the message that short stories are AH – mazing was not properly delivered in my fiction class.

KDW 2013 Request Permission for use
Not pointing fingers, BrockClarke, just saying.  

Last spring, while promoting his new novel, this Pulitzer Prize winner read a short story to a room full of literary fans at the Clemson Literary Festival. 

I went home and wrote the first one I’d written in years. It wasn’t any good, but it was written.

He’s a master. But don’t tell him I said that. We’re still in a fight


Sort it out

For many new writers, there appear to be two fiction camps: the novel writers and the short story writers. Typically short story writers marvel that the novel writers have that much to say. Then the novel writers can’t believe the short story writers even consider themselves writers.

FYI: Long doesn’t make it good. Long doesn’t even make it a novel.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Resolve to Create a Habit of Change

It feels bizarre that I haven’t yet written a blog post about setting goals for the 2013. I mean come on. This whole blog is about goal setting and measuring achievement and reaching beyond your limits to be a better person. 

I am a true slacker. Or not really.

Photo by LJR; request permission before using.
Really goal setting takes time and while the end of the year and the beginning of the next offers us a chance to renew commitments and dream of bigger, better things, I have seen the YMCA syndrome before.

You have, too, if you’ve ever been a faithful (summer months, too!) member of a gym. The very first week day after the holidays the YMCA is PACKED. You have to wait for a treadmill. You discover there’s not a bike for you in spin class. You notice several new people bulging out of their swim suits in the lap lane.

By February these New Year’s Resolutionists have faded from everything except the automatic dues deduction process.

The point is that anyone can start over on January 1. The best thing to combat the blues after the holiday season is passion about a new chance to be Better Than You’ve Ever Been.

And millions of people and thousands of bloggers and hundreds of fitness experts and several dozen well-meaning dieticians are telling you exactly how to do that.

But not here. No sir. Not on Clemson Road.

If you haven’t been setting goals all along and holding yourself accountable then you haven’t been paying attention.

Meeting Your Characters IRL

This post originally appeared on the Columbia II Writers Workshop blog. It's revived here because I think this audience would appreciate...