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UNEXPECTED MUSE

Poetry. Oh, of course I know it isn’t anything new. To you seasoned writers, I’m sure you’ve dabbled in the art at one time or another. As for me, I’ve discovered it anew. I wrote a bit in high school. We were required to at the time. Lately, writer’s block has rared its ugly head. Nothing new, again.  A day came along when I visited a few web sites I’d neglected of late. One post I noticed referenced a type of poetry that caught my eye. The triolet. What a beautiful form. So I tried my hand at it. Submitted it, and received a favorable review. Intriqued, I tried a few more forms. Lo and behold, I was tearing up the computer writing and researching.  I’ve accumulated a folder full of  new work. Okay, you say. Anyone can write a few rhymes. Well, evidently, not me! But I’m working on honing this art form. What it’s done for me, is unleash my muse. I’ve gone back to my WIP and have found a  new rhythm, a fresh look, and a new joy. I’m a new writer, please don’t forget that. Maybe you’ve all discovered this for yourselves, but it’s new for me. I love to write, and in trying to follow all the rules, I sometimes lose my way, the joy diminishes. When I change to poetry, the muse returns and the fetters fall away.  I wanted to share this little bit of insight I’ve found for myself. Now, my question is, do you write poetry and if so, why? Does it help you in your writing? Do you do it only for a diversion? Are you passionate about it? I’d love to hear your opinions, or anything else that helps you break through a writer’s block. Just the musings of a new writer. Thanks for listening.

No need to go into what a hard year 2009 turned out to be. Old news. What I want to talk about is how I survived it. I’m no different than anyone else, mind you. I’m not whining. Admittedly, I probably had it better than some.  What made it difficult was that my husband was laid off from his job last February. Sure, he had unemployment and another supplement, so we did alright, even though our income was cut 20%. I still had my job, too. So that helped.  We’re grandparents raising a 17 year old grandson. Needless to say, a challenge in its self. So, we watched what we spent, and cut back where we could, no different than anyone else. I’ll admit, I was a little resentful. I’m 61 yrs. old and looked forward to an early retirement. That’s out the window now, like many other people in my situation.  I’ve worked since I was 13 and I’m tired of the daily grind. My husband knows this. He hears about it almost every day! But, you see, something happened during this year, as time wore on. Yes, he finally was called back the week of Christmas. , but that’s not what I want to tell you.

After he’d had his yearly physical, they found a kidney stone. So while laid off, he underwent the treatment for that and endured the pain of the blasting and the passing. He’s a trooper. Never complained. What made my year survivable to me was how he got up every morning at 5:30, just like he has every morning all his  life. Not only did he get up, but he cooked me and my grandson breakfast EVERY morning. Sausage and biscuits. Eggs,and bacon, pancakes, etc.  He packed me a lunch every day. He did the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen. The laundry was done and put away when I got home. He was always in the yard or his workshop when I got home,  working on a new project to improve our home, our yard, or the vehicles. He never complained, even though I whined every day about how he got to stay home, and I had to go to work. The weekends were spent doing what I wanted to do, going to the movies,  site-seeing, shopping or just hanging out together. By the way, he hates going to the movies. Hates the chairs and the loud volume. But he went. He could’ve gone fishing, or napped in the recliner, or anything else he wanted to do, but he didn’t. And when Christmas and my birthday rolled around, he outdid himself with his thoughtful gifts. There were tears and guilty feelings on my part.

Now, he’s back to work and the loving breakfasts have fallen by the wayside and I have to make my own lunch and cook the grandson something for his breakfast. But somehow, I don’t mind. I MISS it, of course, but his attitude, and love buoyed us through a very difficult time, and I’ve come into the new year full of hope and energy and love for the best husband a woman could ask for.  So when I start to feel sorry for myself, I will remember the happy example I had in my husband during a most difficult time in our lives. I know this episode will give me strength in this new year.  I’m not whining so much now, and I have a renewed energy and hopefulness. My husband is the true example of a real partner. Here’s to you, sweet man!

Online Interview

My writing partner and I were blessed to be intereviewd by Author Teri Thackston on Examiner. This is a real treat for us as we are what we like to call ‘pre-published’. This has been an exciting adventure and we’ve learned so much as we entered the world of writers. Such lovely people and  friendly and willing to help us as we learn the craft. I hope you’ll read our interview and leave comments.

 Now I must buckle down and finish this!
 

 

The Joy Is Back!

Whew! Cords of doubt and a whirlwind of confusion wrapped their bony fingers around me and held my muse captive these last few months.  In my naiveté I raced through self- help internet sites, writers groups and ordered books that cost a fortune in my quest to learn the craft of writing a novel. My long-time friend, Jeannie Barber www.jeanniebarber.com and I finally finished a collaborative work that’s taken us more than five years to complete. Thrilled to be finished and in child-like wonder; we began to try to find a place to shop our book.

 

Before I go on, please know that my family has been MORE than supportive, especially my daughter-in-law who is published and given me wonderful advice. She pulls no punches, tells it like it is, but with love! and I appreciate that.

 

You see, we’d gone to a writer’s conference where editors and publishers were in attendance and received much praise and accolades about our story. But then, we noticed along with their praise came the ‘suggestions’. One agent said she’d buy the book if we did this or did that to it. There were other suggestions and we decided to begin attending a writers group to help us with the editing. All of a sudden, the joy was beaten out of us with harsh criticism and unkind words. Didn’t we know about gerunds? You never use purple prose! And alas! The dreaded change of POV!!

 

We parted their company and a bit of our money for those eye-opening revelations.

 

Now, the criticisms for the most part were correct, of course. It was the way it had been handled that was so hurtful.  So, with our tails between our legs, we began to research and learn the correct way to pen a novel. Thank God for the internet! We joined a group on line and lurked for over a year and gobbled up all the bits and pieces of information we could find. And then…the editing began.

 

We were told to write it as non-fiction instead of fiction because it sells better. Now the events of our story are based on true life experiences, so we rolled up our sleeves and began anew. I believe it took about seven chapters until we both threw up our hands and gave up. We read some more, researched until our eyes fell out and decided to go back to our original work and give it an overhaul. That is where we are now.

 

Every Wednesday night and Saturday morning we get together and labor over our ‘baby’. We struggle and haggle and have brain freezes and memory loss! You see, when we were writing in our ignorance, we laughed and guffawed and rolled on the floor with joy and fun. No more…that’s gone. We both love writing and we’re both very creative people, so we wrote from the heart. A crowd would gather when we met at the Walmart lunch area and ‘create’. (We live in separate towns and would meet in between.) When the groups we submitted an excerpt to tore us to shreds, we nearly gave up.

 

But onward we’d go! We began again!

 

Now, I think we’ve found our way. We know where we are headed with this and it’s thanks to one new author we met at a book signing. Her name is Beth Fehlbaum www.bethfehlbaum.com and she wrote Courage in Patience. We were fortunate to travel to her book signing in Tyler, Texas and have an in depth conversation with this inspiring lady. She listened to our plight and scrunched up her nose and said, “Stop! Write from the heart, find YOUR voice. Be unique. Bring the joy back!”

 

The encouragement to us was the shot in the arm that we needed. If the story is compelling the editor will give you the direction to make it marketable. Just write it!

So Jeannie and I are back in the saddle, writing like fury and laughing again! The joy is back! So thanks Beth for your inspiration and insight. Whether we ever get published or not, we’ve learned there are people like you in this life who still believe in dreams and encourage that in others!

IKE and Me!

I’ve lived in East Texas for over thirty years and have lived through some pretty powerful storms. I’m originally from the Seattle area, born and bred. I’m use to ‘weather’. But this storm hit me a little closer to home.

 

I was on the phone with my friend and co-writer, Jeannie when the storm hit our small East Texas town of Marshall. We were editing our novel together and she mentioned the power might out it was blowing so hard. I kept telling her ‘how funny, we’ve got nothing!’ Sure enough her power went out and I hung up the phone thankful that it wasn’t going to bother us that much, but worried about her.

 

An hour later…WHAM. Ike hit in all its fury and WE lost power. Ok, ok, we rode out the storm in our 5th wheel hooked up to a generator while I happily cooked stew and cornbread confident we’d be fine once it passed. Oh..our 5th wheel is sheltered securely and wasn’t really in any danger of being blown away.

 

We watched in awe as trees bowed to the earth in the high winds and the rain defied gravity and found its own path in the straight line winds.

 

It soon blew over and we emerged to find our large property littered with debris, but no trees down and no damage to our numerous buildings.

 

Thankful we moved back to the big house to wait for the power to come back on. My husband hooked the generator up to the house and we had television, light and the freezer. Good. We’ll be fine.

 

Not so! Here it is 4 days later and we are still without electricity. I’ve spent my time listening to heart rending stories of the devastation, loss and desolation. My heart goes out to those who’ve lost so much.

 

As for me…it’s been a learning experience. It brought me back to the days of my childhood when we didn’t have all the modern conveniences of today.

 

Do I feel like these are hardships?  Actually, no. It’s a much needed reminder of how very fortunate I am. Ok, so we’re living out of a cooler now, we carry ‘pop up’ lights into every room. We take sponge baths and wash our hair in cold water. Yeah, I know I could heat the water on the gas stove in the 5th wheel, but I’m too lazy!

 

Gosh, we ate at the Sonic last night. THAT’s a hardship, huh?

 

I’ve watched my husband keep gas in the generator, clean up the debris, bring home water and ice and make sure the rest of us are comfortable and not too inconvenienced.

 

They say we might not get power back for three more days. Well, that’s okay because each day I find something new that I’ve done without that reminds me I CAN do without it. Do I want to? No. But I can.

 

I’ve watched my husband teach my grandsons how to work the generator and the chain saw and repair the property. They’ve bonded even more as he teaches them to be the men of the house.

 

So IKE, yes, you were furious and vast and unrelenting, but you have brought me more self awareness, thankfulness and joy in my family. It’s been a time to bond and work together and rely on one another. It’s given me time to reflect on our ancestors who knew such hardship in carving out this country of ours. Could I have survived a life such as theirs? Maybe.

 

I’m grateful for these lessons learned and the microscope we’re under as a family together. These are good times and memories made to share later on. Remember Hurricane IKE?

 

No being without electricity isn’t fun, but I fooled IKE! I’ve had wireless internet the whole time!!

 

Shhh…don’t tell him!

Whew! The summer turned out to be a little busier than expected. Having three grandsons playing baseball keeps you running from field to field. Never mind all the laundry, meals and full time jobs we have! At any rate, summer ball is over and it’ll be a few weeks before Fall Select Ball begins. I love baseball and I love my grandson’s so I can’t really complain, can I?

A few days ago, my husband and I took a few days off and went to Beavers Bend State Park, near Broken Bow, Okla. When you eliminate the television, the phones and all the hustle and bustle you tend to feel the inspiration flood back into your soul. What a wonderful time we had!

But now I’m back, caught up on work and ready to roll my sleeves up and begin in earnest. Tonite my longtime friend and writing partner and I are going to continue our editing on our joint effort. Because our lives have been so busy this project has taken longer than expected, but we push on!! I have been out there net-working and getting a feel of the web presence out there and now feel ready to attempt to blog on a regular basis.

I’ve been able to work on the other two works in progress I have going also. Connecting with the good people of these wonderful sites has taught me so much and I’m eager to put that knowledge into practice.

All the WIPS I’m working on are posted to my website www.pattywiseman.com. I hope that everyone will check it out and sign my guestbook and offer any suggestions you deem necessary. On that site are listed some of the other sites I am a member of, so check that out too!

I plan to keep updating those that are interested on my progress and post some shorter works also.

By posting on the site, I further fuel my desire to continue and polish my writing. Hopefully, I’ll receive alot of good suggestions and words of encouragement.

Carry on!!

P.S. Maybe there are those of you out there that have experience with co-writing. I would love it if you’d share those and offer any tricks of the trade you learned. Thanks!

Hello world!

Welcome to my blog! I hope you will follow me as I learn the art of blogging along with my lifelong desire to craft a novel. I find myself on the eve of retirment and quiver with excitement at the prospect of dusting off my WIP and applying the polish for my first submission. It’s been a long time coming. I’ll be updating my blog site as I learn this art too. Who says turning 60 isn’t an exciting event? Learning all this technology that wasn’t available when I was in school leaves me breathless. My progress, I hope, will be sure and steady. My goal is to have conversations with my characters and I will be posting the first one soon. Any encouragment is welcome!