Writing My Life

Now and Then

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“Also Ran:” My First Submission to Project WRITEway

Remember I told you about the creative writing contest the folks at Throwing Up Words sponsored? And remember that I told you I would share my losing efforts – even though I don’t really think I am a loser because I keep entering and losing and stuff. And I think as long as a person keeps trying, she isn’t losing  because no one has yet yelled, “STOP TRYING!” Until that happens, I’m in the running.

Anyhoo, as my friend Ann Cannon is fond of saying, here is that promised entry: 150 words that begin my untitled, Young Adult novel. Helpful feedback is always appreciated. It needs to be kind, but most importantly, HONEST.

Like many disasters in  life, the events started innocently enough. Conservative, if not traditional.

It’s hard to say who or what set things in motion, and I don’t know if that’s important anymore. Could be. All I care about is seeing an end before more women and girls disappear.

In the beginning, even Mom supported the public education “revolution” – separate schools for girls and boys. She constantly quoted research that test scores soar when the sexes don’t worry about meeting each other in front of lockers or making out in stairwells during lunch.

I hated the new “separate-but-equal” idea because I wanted to meet a guy at my locker and make-out during lunch. I know my arguments were hormone-based, but in my darkest imaginings of how this change would affect my schooling and my life, I did not fathom the proverbial “worst-case-scenario:” I would be fighting for survival.

Cool photo by D. Clow from Flickr.com

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My UNsuccessful Experiences with the “Project WRITEway” Contest

Check it out! That's ME holding a copy of my future novel! The antennae help me channel my muse! 😉

In January some great Utah authors who host a blog – “Throwing Up Words” created a contest for wannabe writers like me. Inspired by “Project RUNway,” the rules for “Project WRITEway” are similar.

The first week everyone submitted the prescribed entries: A 150-word “first-page” of an original novel contestants were writing or wanted to write. Participants and other blog-readers voted for their top 6. Based upon popular vote AND judges’ evaluations, the 60+ entries were whittled down to 14. The “also-rans” were encouraged to continue writing and submitting their work from the “play-at-home” (PAH) venue.

Weekly challenges are open to both groups, and finalists who are eliminated from that group move in with the PAH peeps. Our group is swelling while the other is diminishing, but we folks still qualify for weekly drawings. AND there will also be one “play-at-homer” who wins a “big prize” – which I think is a writing critique from a literary agent. (I’m not really sure, and because that honor will likely go to the last finalist booted to our corner, I don’t think I’m in the running.)

BUT THAT IS OKAY because I AM HAVING FUN! Seriously! AND this is great practice.

Sooooooooo, with that LONG introduction, I want you to know I am posting my LOSING entries for the heck of it. And because these babies are already written, they will be quick posts!

Stay tuned! (Bet you’re holding your breath in great anticipation!)


Academy Awards: A Reflection or Two or Three or ….

Don’t know why, but I decided to watch the Grand-daddy of all award shows from beginning to end. Not an easy task because watching an award show with husband G.E. is like surviving a cross-country road trip with a 5-year-old: “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” Sheesh. Couldn’t wait for him to fall asleep! Which he did just before the best picture presentation.

I thought about tweeting my observations and even got started with some very snappy repartee when my KindleFire expired – forgot to “fire” up the battery. Duh!

I knew my many readers would be greatly disappointed in missing out on these clever quips, and so here is what I would have written:

  • Tom Hanks is the reason I DON’T want G.E. to grow a beard. Gray HAIR can make men look distinguished (Christopher Plummer), even sexy (George Clooney), but gray BEARDS only make you look like Nick Nolte – who has added facial hair and

    That COULDN'T be SAINT Nick???

    subtracted head hair, but actually looked better at the Oscars than he did in the drunk tank a few years ago.

    NN's Mugshot

  • Jennifer Lopez’s peek-a-boo dress made me nervous!
  • Billy Crystal – don’t EVER leave us again. We’ve missed your spot-on hosting. And, Eddie Murphy, thank you for stepping down.
  • Octavia’s Best Supporting Actress acceptance speech was as refreshing as Christopher Plummer’s was polished. Both were wonderful. And I have to say it again, her dress was PERFECT. Octavia was also with the “second” sexiest guy in the room – Christian Bale – for a couple of minutes.
  • Meryl Streep  –  I would have so wanted you to win IF Viola Davis hadn’t been nominated in the same category. But since I haven’t seen Iron Horse  Lady, I’ll reserve further comment. (I think Iron Horse is about an equestrienne who ruled Great Britain – oh, no – that was Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown. )
  • Speaking of nominations I haven’t seen  – well, it’s actually easier to list those nominated for best pic that I have seen: Moneyball, The Help, and Midnight in Paris. I enjoyed all of them, but they were so different from one another that I couldn’t determine which one was best because one was a great sports film; another was an incredible drama, and the last totally scored as the most intelligent comedy I’ve seen in a long time. I completely believe in the adage that it’s an honor to be nominated. 
  • BTW, I am excited to watch the rest of those picks who shared the honor of “just being nominated.” Netflix, I’ll be ordering those in a minute.
  • Big night’s big question – for me, at leas: What was with Melissa McCarthy’s (and that other actress I don’t know) guzzling the mini-bottles during their presentations? And were those little liquor bottle souvenirs from a trip to Utah? Oh, one more thing: M’s hair looked good, but the dress-not-so-hot. She should have gone shopping with Octavia.
I thought many more thoughts, but that 3-hour show kept me up past bedtime, and so I’m going to bid you and Jimmy Kimmel good night – even though he did land Oprah on his show.
Have a super week, and thank you, Academy!


Results of the Second Writing Contest I’ve EVER Entered

I even wished upon a falling star but still wasn’t numbered among five winners of a writing contest I entered.  But unlike my first competition in junior high, the news didn’t make feel like a total loser.

Failure to win the “My Mother is the World’s Best” in-50-to-100-words-or-less contest back in the day convinced me I was a poor writer and a pathetic daughter. This time around, however, I not only learned from preparing my entry, I also benefited from reading  the winning efforts.

I’ll do better next time.

And I still think I have the world’s best mother!

I still remember the story behind the story of this essay, but I just couldn't tell it in 97 words!

Hmmm. I think I thought bringing God into the content would increase my chances even though I could only eek out 85 words.

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Keep Your Vampire Lovers, I’ll Take THE VIRGINIAN Any Day

The Virginian?” you ask.

This 1902 novel by Owen Wister, “almost single-handedly established the cowboy archetype” (Recorded Books Classic Library).

While today’s readers may be disappointed that scenes of hanging and shooting don’t occur until three-quarters in, some might appreciate the story’s deep philosophical character study. BUT what female can resist the romantic hero? Why the cowpuncher’s three-year courtship of high-spirited Molly Wood of Vermont is more tender than even Jane Austen could have imagined.

Interestingly, Wister’s description of the handsome hero did not make me envision Gary Cooper or James Drury, but rather my great-grandfather, a once-living ringer for the fictional character.

Great Grandmother Elizabeth's brand of beauty may not have been considered adequate for the screen role of Miss Molly Wood, but in reality, she was a perfect match for the school teacher.

Yes, Great-Grandpa Henry's photo fits Wister's description of the nameless cowpuncher perfectly.

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the eating corner (and what I wrote today)

I have many favorite people in this world, and Ms. Ann E. Cannon is one. She is a new friend as I met her face to face only two years ago. I don’t know Ann well enough to jog with her (like I would), but we’ve worked together so I can drop her name AND call upon her for writing advice. So I did. While eating at the Mazza Cafe, Ms. Ann shared this advice:

  • Establishing the setting and the problem is still a good way to start a story.
  • Chapters don’t HAVE to include “action” scenes to build suspense.

A Favorite Photo of a Favorite Person

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Life in 100 Words or Less: Writing Less More Often

I’ve missed blogging. A lot. And since life hasn’t quieted much, I don’t see that I’ll have any more time to post than I’ve had the past few months.

Inspired by information about Grant Faulkner, the new executive director of NaNoWriMo,  I think I’ve come upon a solution. It seems that Mr. Faulkner runs an online literary journal – 100 Word Story – and thus launched MY epiphany: I can limit my entries to 100 words or less, AND I will post at least one or two times a week.

I don’t have enough words left to say anything else, and captions don’t count!


EPIPHANY: When you realize your future isn't mixed in with noodles.