Saturday, April 25, 2009

Knock, knock.....Who's there?

OPPORTUNITY! No, wait - that's not how "knock knock" jokes go.

But that seems to be the fact of it. (By the way, this is my little figure of the Bear Goddess and Her Cub. Why is she here? Let me put it this way: this post refers to things which some might consider luck, fate, serendipity....perhaps even synchronicity. And I attribute such things to my little friend, the Bear Mother. Quirky? Yeah, I'll buy that.) To quote our birthday boy (two days ago): "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

So who is this Opportunity, who has come knocking? Ah, therein lies a tale. Pull up a little tuffet, Grasshoppah, and I will relate it.

I've been a lazy writer these last couple of months. No, worse. I've been a NON-WRITER. I've written almost nothing since - yes, since I had to have something to take with me to my Writers' Group in March. I started a new story for the occasion, and I think it's a good one. And since then? Nothing. Nada. Nischt. Zippo. Zero. Crickets.

Might I add - two writing colleagues have made offers, one to participate in a short version of NaNoWriMo, and one to join her in some pieces from a book of writing exercises. What do you call it - ennui? Block. Or...let's call it like it is. "Hello. My name is Lazy McProcrastipants, and I'm a Writer."

But see, I am a writer. I have ideas, I have a new stack of scraps with ideas which - at 3:28 AM sounded like Brilliant Young Adult Novels. I have the desire. And I have a gleaming, shimmering casque of lame excuses.

But I really AM supposed to be writing,and in spite of all of it, The Powers That Be make it perfectly clear. And they have done it with two incidents which I cannot ignore or misinterpret.

First - a chance comment which I might have mentioned before: at State History Day the Editor of the State Historical Society Press suggested I might write a Badger Biography (series of books about notable Wisconsinites for young people) about Mary Hayes Chynoweth. Now, if that's not an Opportunity, polished up, dusted off, gift-wrapped and dropped in my lap......then nothing is. As in: if I don't act on this I deserve to have all my Ebony pencils taken away and my dictionaries impounded.

The second? Today I went to the SCBWI Spring Luncheon; I went with one of my fellow members of my Writing Group AND another local writer and member whom I had not met before who had asked if she could ride along. I feel bit like a wannabe in such a group of published, accomplished, clever writers and illustrators, but then, I DO want to be like them, for real.

On the ride (to Oconomowoc, where the luncheon was held) we three conversed, of course, and (ready for this?) the woman whom I met for the first time in the car on the ride has written Badger Bios in the past and has just launched a new one, a biography of Gaylord Nelson, father of Earth Day !!

So when I mentioned that I was considering submitting a proposal for a Badger Bio about my Spiritualist Healer (on account of 1) it being mentioned by the SHS Press Editor; and 2)because I'm already elbow-deep in research about her anyway, for my portrayal) she said she thought it would be a very GOOD idea and mentioned a few little tips and thoughts, advice from one who has written those bios and gotten them published.

So let's run this past once more: I am immersed in research about a very interesting Wisconsin character; the SHS Press editor (a former colleague from my job at American Girl) runs into me at the History Day affair; the selfsame editor suggested that I put in a proposal for a Badger Bio; I meet a current author of books in this very series; she offers tips and hints for success in the writing of them.

Well! You don't need to hit ME over the head with an L.C.Smith & Corona. I have a new project on the drawing board. How's that for incentive, inspiration, a little prod in the tushie?

Oh - and my Writers' Group has its next meeting Monday (day-after-tomorrow)....and as Fate would have it, the meeting is AT. MY. HOUSE!

Watch this space, news at 11:00.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I'd NEVER have guessed.....

....he was half-a-century old!

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy 50th Birthday dear Strunk & Whi-i-i-i-i-te,
Happy Birthday, to you!

Can you believe it? Today, 16 April, is the 50th birthday of Strunk & White. They've put out a very fancy Anniversary Edition in honor of the occasion. Now, the edition I have (and anyone reading this, and any writer in North America - at least - and frankly everyone else in the world SHOULD have an edition) is the Third Edition. My understanding is that the additions to the new one are nice enough, but the reviews seem to indicate that it's not enough change to go nuts to get the new one.

One thing that IS in the new edition (I heard this on NPR) is Dorothy Parker's quote regarding Elements of Style, as follows:

"If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they're happy." -- Dorothy Parker, Esquire

If you don't have a copy, RUN, do not walk, to your nearest Half-Price Books or other used bookstore, college bookshop, anything, and buy it. (Or if you're That Sort, go get the fancy-schmancy one......even though I don't need it, of course, I might get one just because I'm a hopeless bibliophile-addict.)

Friday, April 3, 2009

At the risk of repetition...

I meant to post this here......but put it here instead:

Check it out--


Editor's note: After that rant on inaccuracies over at the other blog - *I* made an error here. What I meant to say was "meant"; what I HAD said was "mean". Typo, typo....with thanks to my Lovely Daughter for noticing!