Archive | November, 2019

Awareness on a Fall Day

14 Nov

The first rain in fifteen days arrived today.  Driest fall in sixty-seven years in this neck of the woods, or so say the experts.  The dogs are on the floor, in front of the wood stove, drying off after their walk.  They look quite content and in no hurry to go anywhere, thank you very much.  Me, I’m thinking this is a good morning to do some reading, in front of that same wood stove, as snug as a bug in the rug, a shout out to my dad, who said that often when tucking me in at night.

When tucking me in at night . . .

Makes me think of all those kids out there, in the big, cruel world, who have no bed to be tucked into, all those kids who have no parents to do the tucking, all those kids who would do just about anything to trade places with me.

I was watching a documentary last night about drug lords in Mexico, all of the random deaths, citizens in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I followed that cheerful documentary up with one about poverty in Jamaica, five miles from Five-Star resorts, and I thought about the randomness of it all, how some of us are just plain lucky while others wouldn’t even know how to spell luck.

5,000 people in England stood in the rain for hours, waiting their turn to take a swab test to see if their blood matched the blood of a dying child badly in need of a transfusion.  Random strangers reaching out to help a child they do not know.  I cried without shame when I read that . . . fake news?  I doubt it, but even if it was, it’s the kind of fake news I prefer to read these days.

People often ask me where my ideas come from.  Are they kidding?  On any given day, if I open my eyes and ears, inspiration is waiting for me.  It’s on the news, on the streets, from every corner of the world, just waiting for me to notice it and write about it in story form.  Some of my novels have graphic violence, and I didn’t have to dream it up. Check out the latest on Mexican drug cartels and the murder of innocents south of our border.  Check out the random acts of violence on American streets.  My novels may be fiction, but they are definitely based on reality.

It comes down to awareness and empathy for me. I suspect most writers are overflowing with both qualities.

Random thoughts on this Monday morning as the drizzle drizzles and the woodstove smoke rises above it all.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Interesting or Not!

5 Nov

A friend of mine recently asked this question:

“Here is a related question. In this Mailbag, you shared an excerpt from your memoirs—you bared your soul to us. Does your writing rise from that place? How has your writing changed as you have healed inside? These are personal questions, but you have already shared so much with us.”.

I really think this question is crucial for all writers.

I have no idea how many articles and books I’ve read during my lifetime.  Easily the number is in the thousands if not the tens-of-thousands, right? I am, after all, seventy-one years old. I was a teacher, I’ve attended college for five years, and I am an avid reader, so it’s safe to say I’ve read a bunch.  I can divide that huge block of reading into two categories: interesting and not interesting.

Now what makes an interesting article or book?  And why are some not interesting?

I think one criteria is the subject matter.  I love mysteries. I also love history.  Pretty much anything I read which is a mystery or a historical writing will be found interesting by me.  But what about all the rest? What keeps me interested in an article about cooking? I’m not terribly interested in cooking, so it’s going to take a bit extra to get me onboard with a cooking article.

Which brings us to writing style . . . voice . . . approach . . . and I think this is where a writer can take control and hook just about any reader.

For me, a major portion of my writing style/voice comes from my willingness to let my guard down and show you who I really am. That means sharing the pains and the joys.  People respond to my writing because of that honesty and in-your-face approach.

It’s not for everyone.  Many writers are not comfortable with that kind of brutal honesty.  I am!

Just random thoughts . . .

Have a great week!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”