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A Little Holiday Cheer

A Little Holiday Cheer

Christmas time usually is such a festive and happy time. This year, I’ve struggled to get into the holiday spirit. Yet, I couldn’t help but get a chuckle out of something I came across that I wrote a few years back. So, in the spirit of Christmas… I share with you, A Little Holiday Cheer.

Twas ten days till Christmas, when all through the apartment
Everyone daydreams of wandering the holiday department
The tree stands dressed with lights aglow
As the number of ornaments strung upon its branches grow

The children play curled up on the floor
While eagerly watching for daddy at the door
And ‘mama’, myself, sitting idly at the computer
Dreaming of mischief involving a pea shooter

When out in the living room, there arose such a noise
I knew in an instant, it must be my two little boys
Away to the hall I dashed like a whiz
To see what is going on with my dear sweet meddlesome kids

As powdered sugar, snow covers the ground
Likewise are my angels’ toys scattered all around
When what to my amazement I hear
My offspring spreading good cheer

With tiny squeals and undecipherable words
I watch as they play with plastic angry birds
More wild and crazy than one might imagine
They burst into action beckoning for lunch in holiday fashion

With the task done
My sons fun only begun
I sit for a moment to think, recalling now all Christmas is for
Smiling I find I want to write more

While my Christmas may not be bombarded with holly
Or be centered around a big man who wears red and is jolly
It will, however, find meaning in something far more sincere
Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior, whom I hope forever to hold dear

May you find this Christmas to be
Special and treasured, I hope, as much as it is to me
For though we may be miles apart
Just as God does, I shall hold you always in my heart

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What NaNoWri Has Taught Me

What NaNoWri Has Taught Me

I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo for two years now. So far, I’ve not completed a work. For a number of writers, this might prove a little discouraging. It was, at first. Then I realized some things.

  1. The Quality of my work is better when I take my time. If I look at each page or chapter that I write like its own unique adventure, the story unfolds more naturally then it would when the words are hurried.
  2. Complete emersion into the character’s mind, heart, and body are less personal and can read as detached. For me, one of the most difficult things to write is emotions. Doing that during a crunch writing session can prove stressful as all get out when the anxiety starts to set in. Instead of capturing the character’s essence, it can be a struggle with the pen just to put words onto paper. Connecting with the character can also prove quite challenging when asking myself questions like: have I met the word count today? So I’ve found I’d rather get away from the word count, the numbers don’t mean a thing if the story is not there. A story also cannot take life if there is no heart or soul. The emotional connection between author, character, ad reader is one I believe to be sacred. If the author doesn’t feel anything when he or she writes, how can it be expected of the reader to feel anything?
  3. In some ways, I am my characters. Whether it’s the MC’s values, the villain’s short temper, or the town drunk’s alcoholic preferences… they have relatable qualities, backgrounds, beliefs, situations, etc. There is something about them that makes them precious, even unique. In my works, there’s always a character or two that particularly grows on me. Who are they? More often than not, a complete work of fiction inspired by admirable traits from some of the people I love most. Sometimes, they are inspired by the kind of person I want to be, or qualities I wish I had.

 

So while I have yet to walk away from NaNoWriMo a winner, in my heart, I am one. Why?

Because it’s likely I wouldn’t be where I am today without the experience.

 

 

 

Being Grateful

Being Grateful

This NaNoWriMo hasn’t been as kind as I’d like. Riddled with a number of problems with the holidays coming up fast, it’s hard not to find my mind blown or myself completely frazzled by it all. All the more reason to reflect, and perhaps try to take a moment to be grateful.

With me being behind and overwhelmed, the smallest of things I found, can go a long way. A critique I got on one of my current WIPs really put this in perspective for me. So, today I’ll say this much.

I’m grateful for those moments when my writing stirs something in another living soul. I’m thankful when someone takes a look at what I write and finds themselves completely immersed. Most importantly, I’m grateful they took a look at all. For when they read and enjoy, there’s no greater happiness to be found than in bringing that to another person through the world in which is put forth on the page.  

Speaking of words on the page, here are some beautiful poems I found about being grateful.

A Thanksgiving Poem

The sun hath shed its kindly light,
Our harvesting is gladly o’er
Our fields have felt no killing blight,
Our bins are filled with goodly store.

From pestilence, fire, flood, and sword
We have been spared by thy decree,
And now with humble hearts, O Lord,
We come to pay our thanks to thee.

We feel that had our merits been
The measure of thy gifts to us,
We erring children, born of sin,
Might not now be rejoicing thus.

No deed of our hath brought us grace;
When thou were nigh our sight was dull,
We hid in trembling from thy face,
But thou, O God, wert merciful.

Thy mighty hand o’er all the land
Hath still been open to bestow
Those blessings which our wants demand
From heaven, whence all blessings flow.

Thou hast, with ever watchful eye,
Looked down on us with holy care,
And from thy storehouse in the sky
Hast scattered plenty everywhere.

Then lift we up our songs of praise
To thee, O Father, good and kind;
To thee we consecrate our days;
Be thine the temple of each mind.

With incense sweet our thanks ascend;
Before thy works our powers pall;
Though we should strive years without end,
We could not thank thee for them all.

Paul Laurence Dunbar1872 – 1906

 

Thanksgiving

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

We walk on starry fields of white
And do not see the daisies;
For blessings common in our sight
We rarely offer praises.
We sigh for some supreme delight
To crown our lives with splendor,
And quite ignore our daily store
Of pleasures sweet and tender.

Our cares are bold and push their way
Upon our thought and feeling.
They hang about us all the day,
Our time from pleasure stealing.
So unobtrusive many a joy
We pass by and forget it,
But worry strives to own our lives
And conquers if we let it.

There’s not a day in all the year
But holds some hidden pleasure,
And looking back, joys oft appear
To brim the past’s wide measure.

But blessings are like friends, I hold,
Who love and labor near us.
We ought to raise our notes of praise
While living hearts can hear us.

Full many a blessing wears the guise
Of worry or of trouble.
Farseeing is the soul and wise
Who knows the mask is double.
But he who has the faith and strength
To thank his God for sorrow
Has found a joy without alloy
To gladden every morrow.

We ought to make the moments notes
Of happy, glad Thanksgiving;
The hours and days a silent phrase
Of music we are living.
And so the theme should swell and grow
As weeks and months pass o’er us,
And rise sublime at this good time,
A grand Thanksgiving chorus.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/thanksgiving-by-ella-wheeler-wilcox

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Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

This is a particular quote or saying that comes to mind when I think of this month’s NaNoWriMo project. After writing my heart out while trying to work my way through some issues, I’m feeling pretty good about getting close to 15k. While it’s true I wanted to be closer to 25k about now, I’m happy to report that I’m putting my heart into this particular story.

Something I’ve noticed in particular, especially when it comes to Westerns or tales about the Old West is the degradation of the female sex. Then, the world was a lot different when compared to what it is today.

Perhaps that’s why I chose a female protagonist. Not only to make someone relatable but someone of which would have to rise above a number of things along with situations. If there is ever anything I love about a character, its one that’s got something to prove. Not necessarily to others, but mostly to themselves.

It’s my hope that Angela Sue McRight’s character will not only be an inspiration to young women everywhere but that she’d also be a character that even men can respect and appreciate.

So even if I’m behind my current goal, I’m still feeling pretty good, cause after all slow and steady is a good place to be when you’re trying to give it your all without getting too far ahead of yourself.

Just Keep Writing

Just Keep Writing

NaNoWriMo is here, and unbelievably we’re already five days in. Something I have and continue to struggle with is worrying about the work in progress before its completion:

  • Are the characters relatable?
  • Have their thoughts, beliefs, and convictions been portrayed accurately?
  • Is the plot easy to follow?
  • Does the material, language, and overall story fit with the time and place of the setting?
  • Does the message I’m trying to convey come across to the readers?

Most importantly, will readers enjoy this?

Remember…

As I know I’m not the only writer to fall victim to this plight, I share some words from others who’ve taken up the pen. In the hopes, that perhaps we each might find the courage to let the words just flow.

“Words are sacred.  They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.”

~Tom Stoppard~

“If you’re going to be a writer, the first essential is just to write. Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn on the faucet before the water starts to flow.”

~Louise L’Amour~

 

Dedications

Dedications

Something I’ve seen in a number of books that have been grossly overlooked or skimmed over is the dedication. Seeing those words of thanks and dedication wrote down on the pages before the story begins didn’t have much value or appeal to me as a reader.

Then, something changed…

I started writing novels. The journey, so far, has been unlike anything I’ve experienced before. Its an adventure too, I’ve been fortunate to share with others.

Some have read over parts and offered their feedback. Others have shared with me, how characters, scenes, and overall plotlines make them feel as they read. Some have given me their support, encouragement, and created beautiful artwork based off of things I’ve shared with them, that I hope to one day include in my published works.

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One very dear person has brainstormed with me into all hours of the night.

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The journeys through Styvynia and Multon would be nothing without these people.  That is why now when I look at dedications, I smile. For making the journey is just a single step. Reaching its end, and taking the time to appreciate those who helped you on the way… is truly something special.

It is for that reason, I hope and plan to dedicate every story I finish to those who are brave enough to take the journey with me., wherever it may take us.