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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Pure fakery fun! Me in 2012 standing on The Circle in the Grand Ole Opry House during the last of my RV-ing years. 

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours.” — J.D. Salinger

The Write Words

          Author Dani Shapiro compares writing to music.

“When you have written something … listen to it,” she says in Still Writing, which Terry Tempest Williams calls “a wise, pragmatic soulful guide to the writing life.”

“What instrument does your language call to mind? A cello? An electric guitar? An oboe?“ Dani asks.

Hmmm!

Dani’s words, of course, made me ask what instrument my writing calls to mind. I’m not a musical person so coming up with an answer took a good bit of thought.

First drafts, definitely a fiddle, I finally decided. If the editing goes well, and my efforts to make my words sing succeeds, perhaps a flute. It would be nice to feel like my writing floats harmoniously across the page.

But then I realized I also wanted my writing to have a drummer lounging in the background, one who sounds off enough to echo the beat of myself walking to Thoreau’s different pace.

It was a fun question to answer, perhaps because there were no right or wrong answers.

Bean Pat: Top 10 of the Decade https://lithub.com/the-10-best-debut-novels-of-the-decade/ Lit Hub’s choices. I find I usually agree with only half of any such lists, but these books are worth checking out if you’re looking for something to read.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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I’m currently reading this book — and loving it.

          A love of books, of holding a book, turning its pages, looking at its pictures, and living its fascinating stories goes hand-in-hand with a love of learning.” – Laura Bush

What I’m Reading

          I’m reading In My Mind’s Eye, a collection of short essays written by Welch author Jan Morris when she was in her nineties. Jan is one of my favorite authors, and I’m loving her unvarnished look at the world through the lens of age.

Dr. Johnson’s Dicitionary, first published in the 18th century is still lurking around in book stores.

Jan, who was once James and served in the military and climbed Mount Everest in the 1950’s, has written almost too many travel and history books to count. In My Mind’s Eye is a kind of daily diary, however. Topics range from talking to your cat to her idea of a smile test.

On Day 59 in the book, Jan talks about looking through her vast collection of books for Dr. Johnson’s dictionary, fifth edition, 1788. As he picks up the book, Jan notices the damage on the spine and remembers that it was put there by her “darling daughter,” 50 years ago when her pram was parked by the bookcase.

Who in the heck is Dr. Johnson? I stopped reading and looked him up. He was Samuel Johnson, considered one of the best writers of the 18th Century, and best known for his Dictionary of the English Language. I love reading a book in which I learn something new.

Meanwhile, another of my favorite days in Jan’s book is the one in which she rewrote the words to the battle hymn Onward Christian Soldiers.

Onward friends and neighbors, into the kindly sun,

          Where we are paid-up members, each and every one.

          We need no theologians, no doctrinal guff,

          No military idioms, no sham repentance stuff –

          We take the worthy with the nasty, the gentle with the rough.

          The absolute of absolutes. Kindness is enough.!”

Kindness is my word for the year.

  Bean Pat: To all the many, many authors who have challenged my mind and broadened my horizons.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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I feel like the past nine days have been like a storm on the horizon keeping me holed up inside of myself.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

I feel like the past nine days have been  a storm on the horizon that has kept me holed up inside of myself. — Photo by Pat Bean

So Many Questions, Only One Answer

            My goal for this year was to post three times a week. Mostly I met it, and even sometimes exceeded it. But it’s been nine days since I posted on this blog. Nine unproductive days in which I have done nothing that gave me a sense of achievement.

It feels good to have weathered that storm, and to once again be on the path I chose for myself. While I've thought about other paths, they aren't the ones that sustain me. -- Photo by Pat Bean

It feels good to have weathered that storm, and to once again be on the path I chose for myself. While I’ve thought about other paths, they aren’t the ones that sustain me. — Photo by Pat Bean

Now I’m asking myself why I keep on keeping on. Why do I continue to struggle to get my book, “Travels with Maggie,” published? Why do I continue to send out my travel articles and other essays to markets when I get more rejections than acceptances? Why do feel I must write every day?

I think about giving it all up, simply living this third trimester of my life lazing about. I would have to be quite frugal, but I’ve done that all my life. I long ago realized money is nice to have, but has nothing to do with happiness.

The truth is, my past nine days of lazing about morphed the happy person I’ve always been into someone I suddenly didn’t know, or particularly like.

Now, however, as I ponder these questions in the way I do best – with my fingers on my computer in front of a blank page – I find myself smiling. It feels amazing and wonderful to once again be the person I have come to know and love.

I guess that’s my answer to why I keep on keeping on.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: To Girls of all Age http://tinyurl.com/ld44qas I love this message. It touched my soul.

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            “Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.” — Cicero, 106-43 BC

Maggie, sadly, has left this world. I couldn't, however, have had a better companion to explore this country with than this spoiled brat -- and I say that lovingly, and all who knew her would agree with the description. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Maggie, sadly, has left this world. I couldn’t, however, have had a better companion to explore this country with than this spoiled brat — and I say that lovingly, and all who knew her would agree with the description. — Photo by Pat Bean

Step by Step

I laughed out loud when I read the above quote, which started off a recent Blood Red Pencil blog http://tinyurl.com/m33au3r  that I often read because it usually has a lot of good advice about writing.

Gypsy Lee, Me and Maggie's home for eight years. Pepper was my companion for the final year of my living on the road life style. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Gypsy Lee, Me and Maggie’s home for eight years. Pepper was my companion for the final year of my living on the road life style. — Photo by Pat Bean

Today’s was especially meaningful, as I have completed my book, “Travels with Maggie,” and now want to self-publish it. I’ve not been doing anything toward this goal for the past six weeks, sort of like that person who is just one class short of earning a college degree, but then drops out of school.

Come to think of it, I have two other books I’ve written that went no farther than a first draft. “Travels with Maggie,” however, has now had three rewrites, and I feel good about the content

So I’m going to take the advice given in the Blood-Red Pencil blog to do one thing every day toward getting my book published and marketed. Actually this is a pretty good goal for any project.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: The Wanderlust Gene http://tinyurl.com/nx9qv3m  If you love trees, you’ll love this blog.

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“No one knows what causes an outer landscape to become an inner one.” – Margaret Atwood

The drive between Dallas and Austin is filled with roadside bluebonnets right now. Get out and go see them. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The drive between Dallas and Austin is filled with roadside bluebonnets right now. Get out and go see them. — Photo by Pat Bean

Catch ‘em While You Can

I drove from Dallas to Austin this past Thursday to attend the Story Circle Network’s Stories from the Heart memoir conference. The bluebonnets alongside the road on my I-35 and toll road 130 route were magnificent.

 

Up close and personal with Texas' state flower.

Up close and personal with Texas’ state flower.

On Sunday, after a fantastic few days of association with like-minded writer women, I made the return trip — and the bluebonnets were even more abundant and just as magnificent.

How could anyone not like bluebonnets?

They were named bluebonnets because someone thought they looked like the bonnets worn by pioneer women.

Texas’ singing cowboy “Pappy” O’Daniel, who became governor of the state when I was 2 years old, sang: “you may be on the plains or the mountains or down where the sea breezes blow, but bluebonnets are one of the prime factors that make the state the most beautiful land that we know.”

The Indian paintbrush blossoms along side Texas highways aren't too shabby either. --  Photo by Pat Bean

The Indian paintbrush blossoms along side Texas highways aren’t too shabby either. — Photo by Pat Bean

Did you catch that Texas pride there? I have to admit it’s something I share.

If you were a native Texan, like me, and saw the fields of bluebonnets I’ve seen this past week, you would understand. .

This is a really good year for bluebonnets, which require special conditions of rain, sun and cold, to bloom at their best. But the fields of blue are short-lived.

So if you can, catch them soon.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Not Yet There http://tinyurl.com/k243py5 This is one of my favorite bloggers, and this month Red Jim is writing poetry daily because it’s National Poetry Month.

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Taking a Break

             “The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off.” — Abe Lemons  

Bring it on world. I'm ready for you again.--Photo by T.C. Ornelas

Bring it on world. I’m ready for you again.–Photo by T.C. Ornelas

Or Not

I was the oldest, and had three brothers whom I often became the caretaker for.  I married quite young and soon had five kids to take care of. When the oldest was 11 and the youngest was two, I went to work full time as a journalist and added that to taking care of five kids.

But I will never be so busy that I forget to smell the flowers, or in this case, admire the ones created in glass by Dale Chihuly. == Photo by Pat Bean

But I will never be so busy that I forget to smell the flowers, or in this case, admire the ones created in glass by Dale Chihuly. == Photo by Pat Bean

It felt like I was on vacation when they all left home, and I only had a 50-hour-per-week job that I loved — and actually spent 24 hours a day thinking and dreaming about in my head.

In 2004, I retired, sold my home, bought a small RV, and spent the next nine years living in it and traveling this country, which pretty much kept both my body and mind occupied full time.

Last year I nested in Tucson, and began a schedule that included daily writing on a book, a job writing a travel blog for American Profile magazine three times a week, and a dog-walking business in my apartment complex for working pet owners.

At about the same time I finished the book, the magazine was bought out by a conglomerate and I lost my blogging job, leaving me with only my dog-walking gig, which I started to make sure this old broad gets plenty of daily exercise..

While I have dozens of writing projects in my head, and really could use the money they might generate, I’ve taken a break this past week, with the exception of daily walking Pepper and two other dogs.

I’ve read and read some more, watched all the Star Trek movies on Netflix, spent a whole day playing Settlers with a friend, ate too much, slept in and generally did nothing I considered worthwhile, not even writing this blog.

It was nice – for a while. But I realized, as I lay awake in bed last night, retirement is not for me. I’m ready to get back to the grindstone. It really is what makes me happy.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Giggle of the Week http://tinyurl.com/k98m8g9 I’m still laughing.

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“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” – Vivian Greene

You may never find that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, but that shouldn't keep you from looking. -- Photo by Pat Bean

You may never find that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, but that shouldn’t keep you from looking. — Photo by Pat Bean

Stepping into the Unknown

            I’m not a person who likes to give advice. I’ve made too many bad decisions in my own life to think I can mentor anyone else, particularly someone whose end goals may be 180 degrees from my own.

This refrigerator magnet is how I want to be remembered.

This refrigerator magnet is how I want to be remembered.

But the ages have taught me that if you want something in life, you should go for it. And then, if you don’t get it, you should celebrate yourself for having the guts to have gone for it.

Some things we want, like my fulfilling my dream of travel by selling my home, buying an RV and driving that first mile, only depended on me having the guts to do it.

Other things, like my dream of finding an agent and a publisher for my book, “Travels with Maggie,” depend on others – and it may never happen.  So right now, I’m celebrating each rejection slip as a triumph. I’m taking that first step toward my goal – and even if I never achieve it, I’ll know it wasn’t because I didn’t try.  

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Not Yet There http://tinyurl.com/m8clwct My morning coffee and my journal and list of things to do for the day are the way I start my days.  And so this poem and photo spoke to me.

 

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