May 29, 2015

JOURNEY TO THE CREEK BED WITH GRANDAUGHTERS








Through tangled brush
We make our way 
To the creek bed
Cooling summer feet
In crystal water.



Butterflies 
With gossamer wings
Skitter up the bank,
Fanning honeysuckle vines.             
Suddenly, a head shoots
From beneath a mossy rock,







A crawdad staking claim to his territory -
As if little girls pose a threat.
Later, on a picnic cloth 
They arrange their treasures,
A speckled feather, an odd shaped
Rock, a golden leaf.
Unlike their “find,” my treasures
Are images - images of two giggling girls 
Arms outstretched 
Ready to Embrace the world -
Ready EVEN to walk on water.







May 12, 2015

HOW MANY BOOKS IS TOO MANY BOOKS?

This is a blog from five years ago. It's relevant to me today. Hope you enjoy!



My friend Liz and her husband recently stayed two nights with us while on vacation in this area. I pulled a dozen or so books from my shelves to share with Liz - who is also an avid reader and wonderful writer. (She writes as Elizabeth Vollstadt and has various books and stories in print, including YOUNG PATRIOTS: Inspiring stories of the American Revolution- which she co authored with friend, Marcella Anderson. It's for children but I love this book!)

THEN, Liz unloaded the books she'd brought to share with me. (She'd also brought a gift for me - a book, what else!)

While she was here there were books stacked on the coffee table, the end tables, the dining room table, and the kitchen bar. A few books more than my usual stash covered every available surface.

I'd catch her reading as I puttered in the kitchen, or at night we'd have tea and then she'd head off to bed with a book tucked under her arm. Early one morning I looked out and she was reading a novel in the white rocker on the front porch, still in her pajamas and with her coffee in hand. Of course, I couldn't have her reading alone out on the porch so I joined her.

It was just the best visit ever - someone came into my world and totally "got it." She understood if I grabbed a book and read a few pages before or after dinner.

We both took notes - jotting down the names of books we'd read. Neither of us wanting to miss a single good book that's out there, novel, biography, mystery, YA, or whatever.

Luckily, we both married men who like to read. I saw Peter with the latest Steve Martini novel. And R was deep into newspapers and magazines.

So, how many books is too many books?

I think the number of books one has is irrelevant.

As long as one has a book on the nightstand, a book on the coffee table, a book in the office, one in the bathroom, and one at the dining room table and maybe one on the kitchen counter, well, I could go on and on. I guess maybe it matters not how many as long as you are enjoying what is inside the book you are presently reading.
That's it. One good book is essential. As essential as breathing.

Do you love books? What books do you have on your to be read list:
Would love to hear from you. Comments welcome. Hugs, Barb

LIZ has a new book out, a YA titled Pairs on Ice, my latest is a short story titled Dear Anne: Love Stories from Nam, my novel Vada Faith, and collection of short stories titled Ezra and Other Stories. We hope you'll check them out. Thanks!

May 5, 2015

Grandma's Rocking Chair by Barbara A. Whittington

I'm recovering from acute bronchitis. All I've done the last few days is think about writing but not actually writing. My time has been filled with lots of Kleenex, coughing, breathing treatments, etc etc etc. Every day I feel a bit better. Come tomorrow I'll be well - I'm counting on it. In the meantime, while I'm not writing, I found this poem among my papers and thought I'd share  - it's a sentiment I wrote for our daughter Jill. Hope you enjoy. As always comments are very welcome. Hugs to all.

Grandma’s Rocking Chair

Grandma’s rocking chair -
passed on to our daughter -
headed for Wisconsin
loaded in a U Haul, nestled
between an antique secretary,
and a refinished dresser -
mirror long gone.

Our three year old triplet
grandchildren, faces pressed
to the window of the van,
wave good bye to me and grandpa
in the driveway, their tears
breaking our hearts.

Our daughter, Jill,
heavy with the child of her new husband,
hums to the children
And soon they are fast asleep.

The rocking will start
while baby is in the womb,
this new grandson of ours,
whose name before
he's even born, is Austin Cole.
He will learn from his mother
How rocking soothes the soul.
Nourishes the spirit.
Links us one to the other
And to generations past and future.
just as we were linked
as children forming the circle
for ring around the rosey.

-the end-
Comments Welcome!

April 25, 2015

QUOTES ON REWRITING...

This is a post I wrote on March 11, 2011, I believe. I'm in the midst of rewriting my WIP, and decided it was time to review this article. Hope you find something here that will inspire you to rewrite or even to write. Let me know if anything speaks to you. 


Rewriting/ Quotes by other writers

Sometimes beginning writers say they don't believe in rewriting because they're afraid they'll "lose the spontaneity" of the first draft. This is naive; rewriting means making the work better by adding, deleting, and revising; what worked well in the first draft stays--that's the effective spontaneity. Most professional writers know the heady sense of control that comes with the revision process--this is where one knows one has mastery of the
writing craft. Note the following comments. Not sure who wrote the above intro but the quotes below are worthy of sharing. Enjoy!

"It is no sign of weakness or defeat that your manuscript ends up in need of major surgery. This is common in all writing and among the best of writers."
- E. B. White

"I don't write easily or rapidly. My first draft usually has only a few elements worth keeping. I have to find what those are and build from them and throw out what doesn't work, or what simply is not alive."
- Susan Sontag

"Half my life is an act of revision; more than half the act is performed with small changes."
- John Irving

"I revise the manuscript till I can't read it any longer, then I get somebody to type it. Then I revise the typing. Then it's retyped again. Then there's a third typing, which is the final one. Nothing should then remain that offends the eye."
- Robert Graves

"I rewrote the ending of Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times before I was satisfied."
- Ernest Hemingway

"I do a lot of revising. Certain chapters six or seven times. Occasionally you can hit it right the first time. Most often, you don't."
- John Dos Passos

"I can't write five words but that I change seven."
- Dorothy Parker

"I have rewritten--often several times--every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers."
- Vladmir Nabokov

"First drafts are learning what your novel or story is about. Revision is working with that knowledge to enlarge or enhance an idea, or reform it."
- Thomas Wolfe

"A thing may in itself be the finest piece of writing one has ever done, and yet have absolutely no place in the manuscript one hopes to publish."
- Carolyn Forche

"Read over your compositions and, when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out."
- Samuel Johnson

"There are days when the result is so bad that no fewer than five revisions are required. In contrast, when I'm greatly inspired, only four revisions are needed."
- John Galbreath

"I rewrite everything, almost idiotically. I rewrite and work and work, and rewrite and rewrite some more."
- Laura Z. Hobson

"I retype everything four, five, and six times--critical passages more--and everything, say three times."
- James Michener

"Nothing you write, if you hope to be any good, will ever come out as you first hoped."
- Lillian Hellman

"Only amateurs don't rewrite. It's in the rewriting that writers bring ALL their knowledge--basic craft, technique, style, organization, attitude, creative inspiration --to the work."
- Gloria T. Delamar

"Writing a first draft is like groping one's way into a dark room, or overhearing a faint conversation, or telling a joke whose punchline you've forgotten. As someone said, one writes mainly to rewrite, for rewriting and revising are how one's mind comes to inhabit the material fully."
- Ted Solotaroff

"The waste paper basket is the writer's best friend."
- Isaac B. Singer

How do you feel the task of rewriting? Do you do a lot of it? Share your comments, please. Thanks!

March 31, 2015

Last trip to Massachusetts



Yesterday we returned from my youngest daughter Jill's in Attleboro, MA. The car trip there and back was uneventful. An 11 1/2 hr trip. Daughter, Susan, and I had lots of fun both ways. We laughed, joked, reminisced about the good and bad times of our lives. There was more good than bad. 

March 27, 2015

READ the small print.

Reently I ordered a miracle face cream for $4.95 and a serum for $3.95 online. When I clicked to order,  the terms of agreement between company and customer was written in such small print that I decided to forego reading and just clicked agree and ordered. Of course I gave my charge card number.

I tried the cream and serum upon arrival and a few days thereafter. Since I  couldn't see the expected miracle on my face and neck, I tossed the jars - which were tiny - in with dozens of other creams and potions that hadn't worked and forgot all about them.


A few weeks later, I was checking my charge account online. I nearly fell off the office chair when I saw that there were two charges --- $87.63 for each sample sized bottle. It seems I'd joined a beauty club and would be charged that amount each month.  Per our agreement.

After regaining the ability to breathe, I emailed my card company.
They checked and read the agreement. It was binding. The rep agreed to call the company with me on the the phone and see if anything could be worked out. Bottom line they refunded 50% for each bottle and cancelled my membership. They were not happy. I was extremely happy. I ended up paying only $87.63 for both bottles and my membership was cancelled.

The lesson I learned was to NEVER agree to anything without reading the entire agreement. If print is too small to read then do not order. SECOND lesson - something that sounds too good to be true IS.

Of course that's a lesson I've learned many times. BUT this time the lesson was more costly and will not be forgotten anytime soon.

Have you had an experience such as this? I'd like to know I'm not the only gullible person in the world. Would appreciate hearing from you. Thanks! Til next time - Barb




 

March 26, 2015