I Found My Way

I don’t really remember what song it was, but I found myself thinking the words of a Frank Sinatra song this morning. I was preparing to start rearranging things in my house and decided that I would find a Frank Sinatra album on my music app.

I have been listening to him all day. I was surprised to know most of the songs. The songs I don’t know still have me swaying as I move about the house. Even now, as I write, I am listening to his swooning. I can’t usually write with music because I get distracted, yet his songs simply calm me.

I have been thinking about my parents all day. I can imagine them dancing to these songs and that brings me joy. I keep thinking the only reason I know the songs is because my parents always sang when we took long trips in my youth. It’s nice to have the memories and even nicer to have been inspired to find this music so I can sway to the nostalgia.

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Showing up for Success

I saw Howie Mandel in an interview recently. He was asked to comment about judging for America’s Got Talent.

I can’t quote him exactly, but he said he was surprised by how many contestants say they don’t sing at home. In fact, many of their friends don’t even know they can sing.  He wanted to point out that the most successful people are the ones who show up.

That comment struck a chord with me. How can I be successful if I don’t show up?

If I don’t actually open my computer or at least take a pen and notebook off the shelf, I will never be finished with the sequel to my first book. I will never be able to call myself a success because I am not showing up in the first place.

That thought led my mind to the idea that showing up is half the battle.

It is. As soon as my computer is open and I start typing, the battle has begun and the victory is imminent. Well, imminent might be an optimistic exaggeration, but it is much more likely than it would be otherwise.

So, here’s to showing up and succeeding.

Have a nice day.

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Flamingos Reach New Heights

Well, well, well,

Our well is not well. In fact, it needs to be replaced. It is one of those events in life when one realizes just how much we underestimate our use of water.

As you might know, getting a new well is both complicated and expensive. It didn’t surprise me that in order to put in a new well, many limbs had to be cut from the trees in These Fair Woods. Fortunately, we were able to rent a machine to help  reach the tree limbs.

At one point in the process the youngest came to me and told me I should come out and see the progress of the tree trimming. It didn’t take me long to notice the mayhem.

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It appears that one of the sweet darlings decided to take on new heights. I hear she can see the river quite well.

Here you can see just how high she is.

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Before the day was done she had convinced another to join her.

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I have decided to put them to good use as they perch in their new positions.

They are now flamingo surveillance officers. They do a very good job. I just wish they would stop waking me in the middle of the night because they see a raccoon.

 

 

 

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I Know Who Said it

My local writing group has been discontinued. This is very disappointing, but I must not let it stop me from writing.

In our last session, I shared a piece I had been having trouble with getting right. I was proud of how it turned out. One of the members told me he was confused because I had used dialogue without always saying, “He said,” or “She said.”

The main reason I did not use the obligatory said was because I did not want to let the reader know the gender of one of the characters. I also felt that, as long as I wrote “He said,” for the man’s dialogue, it would be clear who was speaking because there were only two characters in the scene.

My friend said he was taking an on-line course that taught the student to use said rather than all the other choices (exclaimed, yelled, remarked, etc.). He admonished me, “I just learned the rule and you broke the rule.” 🙂 Of course, he said it with a smile and a laugh.

That conversation has stuck with me since that day. I often ask, “Does the reader know who is speaking?” while I write.

Then I borrowed Robert B. Parker’s book, Chasing the Bear, in audio version. The story was good, but the dialogue consisted of very short statements and each statement was followed by “S/he said.”

I am not quoting from the book because I don’t have it in front of me, but the following is a good imitation….

My wife came home. “Hello,” she said.

“Hello,” I said.

“How was your day?” I said.

“Fine,” she said.

“Want to eat take-out?” I said.

“Sure,” she said.

 

 

You get the point. That is a lot of saids. Even more annoying, much of the time the word asked would have been more appropriate.

The audio was somewhere around three hours, if I remember correctly. I was really tired of the word said, but the story was really good. I don’t think it would have bothered me nearly as much had I been reading the book rather than listening.

At one point, I was driving the youngest home and we listened to it together. I had wanted another opinion as to how annoying the saids were. Of course, during the first five minutes, we listened to an action scene with no dialogue.

It wasn’t long after the dialogue started again that the youngest gave me an incredulous look. “Mom, why are you listening to this?”

I explained the story was really good. I paused the audio (thanks to modern technology in my car), and summarized the story.

The youngest agreed. The story sounded great, but the saids  did not seem to entice the youngest into hearing anymore.

I did like the story. I want to make that clear. I just did not like the way the dialogue was constructed.

I think it was a great story for me to listen to because it reaffirmed my belief that the reader should be able to understand dialogue without constantly pointing out who the speaker is.

What do you find most difficult about writing dialogue?

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If Only

If Only I were

Younger 

Braver

More agile, and

Wealthy….

I just saw something, from the safety of my balcony, that I don’t remember ever seeing before. 

My human exclaimed, “Look at all the kites.”

Then, we looked closer. They were kite surfing.

This, incredibly talented, being rode all the way to the Edge of the sand, turned, rode the waves and literally flew through the air for an unbelievable period of time.

I could have watched for hours, but he headed north, out of sight.

Oh, if only I were able to play like that!

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Old Friends at the Beach

“The sunrise was beautiful this morning.” said the woman on the elevator this morning.

“Yes, I’m glad we saw it, spectacular.” the man responded.

I was on my way down to the newspaper stand to find Halloween activities. I had slept through the sunrise, so I had nothing to add to the conversation. I am on vacation, I don’t wake early enough to bother with the sunrise.

Still, I went on the balcony and saw this.

I couldn’t help thinking, here were two old friends, sitting on a rooftop like bookends.

I guess they think the view is every bit as wonderful as I do. I wonder if they saw the sunrise. They might have had something to add to the elevator conversation.  

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Old Friend, I Missed You

My old friend and I have not been together for many months. I truly can’t remember the last time we met.

Oh, how very much I missed my friend who makes my breathing easy and sends my soul and dreams flying. 

We have been reunited, and the world is alright again.

Everyone seems to have their own happy place. This is mine.

Thankfully, I am getting back on track. 

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