We all have our ways of blowing off steam and mine’s in the writing, particularly in the hula-hoop rockabilly break-the-blog revival going on at JD Mader’s Unemployed Imagination. Maybe you’ll join us next Friday for a little two-minute (give or take) flash fiction. Here are a few of my pieces from this week. I hope you’ll also roll on over and check out what the other writers threw down.
Think about your favorite novels. There might be a ripping good story and great writing, but I bet it also stars characters that leap off the page. Even if the characters inhabit a fantasy world and have two heads and green fur, they feel as real as the person sitting next to you. That being feels…real to you. You care what happens to she/he/it. Ever wonder how writers do that? I can’t speak for all writers, but here are a few secrets some of us use to take our real life experiences into fiction. Continue reading
It’s been a while since I flashed you. So here are a few of my contributions from Friday’s Word-a-Palooza and barn-raising also known as 2MinutesGo at JD Mader’s blog. As usual, only lightly edited for your protection. ‘Cause that’s the way we roll. If you’re in a writing mood, maybe you’ll come by next week and play. Or at least read the awesome, awesome writing going on there.
I am a dreamer at heart. There. I’ve admitted it. I’ve tried to deny this for years, doing the practical things humans do, fretting about getting good grades and finding the right mate and how to keep a roof over my head and food on my table, marching in painfully uncomfortable lockstep with the other grownups. I put that uniform on when I need to—food and shelter are not to be sneezed at—but the wool itches and the vest constricts my breathing and let’s not talk about how the crotch rides up on those ridiculous trousers.
Right about the time I began to worry whether I’d let the uniform become a permanent part of my epithelial cells, sort of like a Simpsons character, this weird little cardinal started attacking my back deck.
Male Northern cardinals do this sort of thing, I’ve heard. They are territorial, especially during brooding season, and when they see their own reflections in shiny things like windows and car mirrors, they think it’s a rival bird and attack. Over and over and over again.
We named him Napoleon.
I did the things people suggested to make him not see his reflection. Decals on the windows, dangling distracting strips of things from the glass…everything short of covering the sliders with white sheets, which the spouse nixed. I’d rather have a thumping cardinal than a husband grumbly that the lack of natural light coming into the house might kill his cacti. And his mood.
Eight months later, well past normal brooding season, he’s still flinging his winter-fluffed body into my windows. But in the beginning, my little dreaming heart wanted to tell stories and make meaning out of it.
My first flight into the nature of his arrival was that he had come to teach me something. About perseverance, perhaps. Or how to survive getting hit on the head over and over and over again, a common way of life for freelancers and indie authors.
Next I entertained the possibility that the meaning was a little more subtle and archetypical. He represented something. A message from a friend, sent on a wing and a prayer, perhaps. (I apologize for that. No, I don’t.)
Then I attempted communing with him. While waiting for my coffee to brew in the mornings, I’d inch up to the window, watching the proud set of his banged-up beak, the determination in his shining black eyes. He liked the sound of my voice, or at least did not fly away from it. At this point, Husband considered that I might need professional help, or a hobby, but I ignored him. Instead, I went deeper and imagined his story. I let him tell it from his point of view. In the first, he had come to save me from my itchy, semi-permanent uniform, a sort of cage I’d locked myself into and did not realize I could leave. Next, and I admit I might have been a little loopy that day, maybe from the repeated percussion of a determined cardinal banging up my house, he’d been sent by a Disney princess to be one of those magical cleaning birds but was continually frustrated that he couldn’t get inside the window.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
I latched wholeheartedly onto the next theory, relayed to me by several Facebook friends. Some say that an appearance of a cardinal means that you are getting a message from a loved one who has died.
Then I was all about what the message might be. From my mother-in-law, watching over us? Telling me to clean the house and fretting that my husband is too thin? A friend who likes that we’ve hung one of his paintings in the hall and hopes we’re happy? Someone else? Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate the love from beyond, but those windows are going to need some serious power washing come spring.
I know that my time with Napoleon on this plane is limited; I know that some think I’m making too big a deal of what might be a simple avian instinct gone awry. But his presence gives my little dreaming heart something to thump about. And now, instead of rattling my imagination for meaning, I spend a little time with him, send out a thought-beam of kindness and compassion, and say, “thank you.”
The intrepid souls gather from across the globe to write for a couple minutes and toss their innards on the virtual walls…or just play around for a while. Because it’s fun, right? And fun is good. Until someone loses an eye. If you’d like to read some great spontaneous flash, check out JD Mader’s website and maybe next Friday you’ll come by and help us break the blog. Here are a few of my pieces from this week. As always, lightly edited for your protection. Continue reading
Wendy McClelland is a business pioneer; as one of the first small businesses to get online in the mid 1990s, her first website was chosen by the NY Times as “one of the best biz sites on the ‘net”. She is an award-winning entrepreneur as well as a past nominee for “Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year”. She has spoken to over 10,000 people in live audiences throughout western Canada and the U.S. Wendy’s newest project is her book “27 Steps to Freedom – What Learning to Walk Again Taught me About Success in Business & Life” is a story of rebuilding her life after a near fatal illness. You can buy Wendy’s book and get 17 BONUSES with purchase – http://27stepstofreedom.com/book-launch-bonuses/
I’m really thrilled Martin Crosbie asked me to participate with him and eleven great authors to share Christmas stories.
I’m honored to be working with ML Gardner, Dianne Greenlay, RJ Crayton, Jennifer Ellis, Helga Zeiner, Roberta Kagan Author, Heather Haley, Jamie Lee Scott, Sarah Lane and Laurie E. Boris.
A Christmas Love Story (12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop) by Wendy McClelland
I remember 1967 really well. It was Canada’s centennial – our country was 100! My parents had a fun backyard BBQ party and the whole neighbourhood came. The party went on well into the early hours of the morning. I’ll never forget seeing my parents dance together. We never know when we are experiencing something for the last time – especially as a child. That would be the last summer my mother would be alive.
As the fall approached, I started back to school and was a carefree eight year old, with three younger siblings. My parents Brian and Eileen adored each other and loved us. They were both originally from the UK, but had met in Toronto at a house party. When my dad first saw her he turned to his friend and said, “I’m going to marry that girl.” Sure enough, less than a year later they were married.
Ten years and four children later they were building a life together. Then in early winter, my mom began to feel ill, by late November she was gone. She had been feeling tired and went to the doctor. He asked her to wait in his office, called my dad at his office and had him come in. He told my mom she had leukemia and had less than two weeks to live! Can you imagine? You are only thirty years old, and have four children under eight years old. I remember feeling like the bottom had fallen out of my child’s world, I cannot imagine what she felt.
Amazon Author Page (all books): http://www.amazon.com/author/wendymcclelland
Facebook Fan Page (daily inspiration and motivation) http://www.Facebook.com/WendyJMcClelland
Hello everyone! I’m delighted (and more than just a little bit in awe) to be part of this group of talented and very entertaining authors in our “12 Blogs of Christmas”, conceived and assembled by my friend and bestselling author Martin Crosbie. By now, you have met several of these brilliant authors, and today it’s my turn to entertain.
I’m the author of the award winning action/adventure QUINTSPINNER SERIES , and also of THE CAMPING GUY , a humorous short story, which is an award winner in its theatre script version. I live and write on the Canadian prairies, home (most years) to 6 or 7 months of winter. Yeah, we never put our parkas away, just in case. (Is it any wonder that I fantasize and write about pirates and adventure in the sun splashed tropics?)
I chose to write my first novel over learning to play the bagpipes, and my husband is grateful. I love to hear from my readers and you can find me at www.diannegreenlay.com, or on twitter at https://twitter.com/DianneGreenlay or even at my Author page .
And now onto my Christmas blog. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday filled with good friends, good luck, and good books!
Getting Into The Christmas Spirit …
To steal that popular line, it is Hot Stuff Hubby’s summation of what he also refers to as “a Hallmark Holiday”. The rest of us call it Christmas.
For anyone who has anything for sale, the Christmas retail season is like bottled oxygen to an astronaut in a Space Station – absolutely necessary in order to survive the rest of the year.
Not a particularly religious man, Hot Stuff nevertheless laments the overshadowing of the original intent of fellowship and gratitude of the season, with that of a glut of retail activity.
Personally, I love the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. I think I must have been a magpie in a former life because I love all things sparkly – twinkling lights, reflective ornaments, the ropes of flashy tinsel, diamonds (ahem, are you reading this, Hot Stuff?), and such.
I love Christmas music, especially the more traditional carols and hymns perfectly harmonized and performed by choirs – I feel no shame in humming along out loud as they are pumped out of the speakers in the mall stores; I thrive on the smells of Christmas baking – sugar and cinnamon, butter and raisins, warm gingerbread – and can often be seen hanging out around the local bakery counter until the clerks get a little nervous at my continuous presence; and I take personal pride in decorating my home and yard as though it were a marker for NASA to be easily seen from outer space.
But this year is a little different. You can read more and find out why here.