What I've Written About

Friday, June 6, 2014

My Offer of Representation

I wanted to keep this short, sweet, and to the point. Today I got a literary agent, and I did something I hardly ever do in my 'tomboy/too cool to possibly do that' life. I did an actual sqweeeeeeeeeee! And on an occasion like that you don't just go, "Oh hey. You know that dream I've had for my whole life? Yeah. That one. Well I did it."
 
YOU CELEBRATE!!!!
 
And if you don't...well it's time to double-check those meds my friend, because your life must have no meaning.
I know that people will probably ask and wonder and want to know how it happened, so I thought it might be easier to write it, since you know, that is what I do. Officially.
You don't know how close I came to squealing just then. Again.
 
About five years ago I became a part of an amazing writing group. They challenged me and bet on me and helped me in every way a writer's group possibly can. Seriously love those folks! You can find our site here. Writers Cubed
We have been a really tight, close-knit group since the beginning, and one of my favorite people in that group, Jo Schaffer, recently became a literary agent. I knew she would seriously rock at it. She pretty much dominates anything she sets her mind to. We are amazing friends, so when she asked me over to her house, I thought we were going to watch some videos and talk through the whole thing like we usually do.
This time...no.
Jo asked me to be her very first client. ME. And inside I was totally like...
While on the outside I was like...
But really it was a no brainer. I trust Jo. I know she will fight for me and tell me the truth if something I wrote sucked. She has a freaking Black Belt for heavens sake.
SO
Today...this happened!

I am now OFFICIALLY a client of GH Literary Management.
And it is scary and awesome and indescribably surreal and
A DREAM COME TRUE.
So let's do this thing Jo. I'm ready to dominate the world together. :-)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

It's the Little Things

So it was a long time ago. Like a REALLY long time ago that I wrote this post...
 
 
All I have to say in addition to that post. Is that it is now 4 years later and...
I WIN!!!

 
 
HAHA!
 
Photo creds to Daphne who managed to catch me with my eyes closed. :-)


Friday, April 29, 2011

Characters: An Easy Fix

Take your characters from this:




To This

I am a hoarder of characters.


Sorry…I kind of whispered that. Let me say that a bit louder….

I am a hoarder of characters.

Did you catch that?

Just like the highly embarrassing show called Hoarders that comes on television, I collect character ideas.

No matter where I am (the dentist, the grocery store, the hospital, the playground, my living room) I am watching people. I like to see how they react to given situations. I find amusement in the small details of each person. The shirt they are wearing, the teenager with a zit on their nose, and the older gentlemen who can barely walk into Walmart, but still smiles at me as he passes. To amuse myself, I’ll go early to a movie and watch people as they come in and build back-story for them. The couple where the girl is way prettier than the boy? How did that happen? Did he pay her to be there? Did he break her down over years until finally she submitted? Did he do something so romantic and incredible that it didn’t matter what he looked like anymore? Did he hire someone like “Hitch” to nab her?

You see where I’m going with this?

I come up with a back-story for pretty much every person I come in contact with.

Because of this, I kind of think of myself as an expert on characters…creating them, understanding them, making them come alive in my mind.

And today…I’m going to share my FIRST secret for creating a character that seems real with you. Grab a paper and pencil (or at least a finger that can find the ‘print’ button.)

Today, you are getting the EASIEST way of making a character seem more like a real person. Stay tuned to future blog posts for the rest. (I know your reading breath is already baited for it.)

Here goes…

Are you ready…?

DUN…DUN…DUN…

NAME THINGS!

There is something about attaching a name to an object/person that makes that object/person become real. Let’s look at three examples and you decide which one seems like it really happened…

Ex. 1: By the time her math teacher had finished the lesson, Sarah wanted to gouge her eyes out with a pencil.

Or

Ex. 1: By the time Mr. Sorenson had finished explaining quadratic equations, Sarah wanted to gouge her eyes out with a no. 2 pencil.

Ex. 2: Cereal always made him feel better. He didn’t know why, but something about the crunchiness soothed his worries.

Or

Ex. 2: Cocoa Puffs always made Sam feel better. He didn’t know why, but something about the chocolatey crunchiness never failed to erase his worries.

Ex. 3: The last time Marcus was at the zoo he threw food into the zebra pen. Let’s just say he was never invited back.

Or

Ex. 3: On Marcus’s third grade field trip to the San Diego Zoo he threw chunks of his bacon cheeseburger into the zebra pen. Let’s just say he was never invited back.

In my mind, when something is named it becomes not any old thing, but a specific thing. It makes it seem more like it really happened instead of something the author made up. So here’s what I’m going to suggest to you—

A) Look at the nouns in your story.

B) Decide, could I give an actual name to any of these things?

C) If so, maybe change a couple to something a little more specific.


This isn’t to say you have to name EVERYTHING…but a few extra specific names are only going to make a scene seem more real. Even if the name is made up. I recently read a book where the girl was addicted to Dr. Cola. There is no Dr. Cola. But the fact that they named her favorite drink made her seem like someone a bit real-er (okay that isn’t a word, but go with me here).

It’s a pretty quick and easy fix, too.

What do you think? Do you think things seem more real when actual names and places are attached to them? Did you try it? Did it work? What other suggestions would you give to someone wanting to make their characters seem more real?



Want to learn some more and enjoy some great teen reading? Go to Write On Teens or Noveltee(n). Both are amazing sites for teens!





Wednesday, March 30, 2011

GIVEAWAY AWESOMENESS!

FACT: Winning a $10 gift card to i-tunes is awesome.


FICTION: Doing it is hard work.

If you're looking for an easy way to increase your music collection then go to the Writers Cubed blog. They have a great contest going on this very moment to win a $10 itunes card. The rules are simple:

1. Go to their blog, become a follower, and make a comment. That puts your name into the drawing for the itunes card one time.

2. Mention the contest on Facebook, your personal blog, or Twitter. Be sure to include the link to their site and tell the Writers Cubed about it in your comment. Each of those things are worth two more entries into the drawing to make a total of seven entries--if you do all of them.

The contest runs from now until April 23rd.


Here's the link in case you didn't catch it up above: WritersCubed

Thursday, March 24, 2011

‘X’ample A: How I’ve NOT Changed as a Writer

You know, I once read a story written by Sandra Cisneros called “Eleven.” It seriously changed my life. Here is an excerpt.

Because the way you grow old is kind of like an onion or like the rings inside a tree trunk or like my little wooden dolls that fit one inside the other, each year inside the next one. That’s how being eleven years old is.

I still get goose bumps when I read it. It explains so much of things I’d always wondered about. Like, when I don’t get enough sleep or I’m hungry I get SO grouchy and weepy. That’s like the part of me that is still a toddler. And when I ran into my high school boyfriend my heart raced and I got all giddy. And that was the part of me that was still seventeen. And when I went to a party and no one talked to me, the little portion of my soul that is still twelve wanted to crawl into a hole and hide.

See, what I’ve realized is that it is useless for us to cover up whatever we were in the past. Yes, we all grow and our thoughts, beliefs, and ideals still change—but there will always be that little portion of us from whatever stage in our life lurking underneath the layers of our skin. Most of us hide it and pretend it isn’t there. But it is.

My point with all of this is that I think I’ve been trying to hide and cover up the writer I used to be. See, right now, I write YA books. And I have to bust out all this teenage voice and access the part of me that is still sixteen. But because of that, I’m hiding this part of my brain that is thirty-five. (Yes folks, you now know how old I am.) And I’ve also tucked away the twenties-something introspective writer I always wanted to become.

So today, I’m going to share a small part of stories I wrote in my twenties. I was proud of them then. Maybe I’m not so much now.

But I was then.

And so I think if I share them, you learn a little more about how I used to be as a writer. Here goes…

***

A middle grade book (started at age 28):


When she got to the swirling dark creek the sun was just beginning to kiss the grass with its yellow light and caress the brown leaves with a reddish glow. She stopped for a moment and listened to the wind rock the dry grass and barren branches. She breathed the smell of the dirt and the crisp old leaves and let the sun touch her face for at least a minute. She wanted to remember all of it. The warbler mocking from the trees, and even the way her fingers and toes tingled a little bit from the stinging cold. For a moment she almost turned back, but then thought better of it. Today was the day.


She kept walking out past the watching eyes of her old log home; out past the feeling of comfort. She climbed and she climbed until she ran out of breath and then she sat down and ate the little stash of biscuit she had stolen from the kitchen. It was just the same old biscuit she always had for breakfast, but for some reason, this morning it tasted different. It was like the butter was fairly jumping onto her taste buds. When she was done, she didn’t even bother wiping any crumbs off her dress. She stood up and kept climbing.

***

An adult novel (started age 30):


One thing that I will never forget in those last few days of her life is how silly I was about getting old and bitter. I remember really carefully unwrapping a piece of salt water taffy grandma gave me, making sure that I didn’t really touch any of it with my fingers. It was only when I was throwing the wrapper in the garbage that I realized I was afraid of catching “Evelyn”. I didn’t think about or see the wisdom in getting old. I didn’t want to. What I really wanted was to understand how this grouchy outer shell of a person came to be. I think we all did.


And so I sat by her on her death bed. I changed her Depends, and listened to her inner ramblings, and spoon-fed her the very last meal she ever ate; peaches and chocolate pudding. All the time pretending I understood her and her strange ways, but not really understanding it. I had sat by her side many times before on holidays and Sunday afternoon visits and “listened” to the Evelyn stories. I nodded my head at all the right times, showed indignation when I should, and frowned when it was necessary. The one thing I truly regret is that I didn’t really hear it. She was giving me a gift of sorts in those stories. She was trying to explain herself, get other people to see where she was coming from, and offer an opening for someone to look deeper to her softer insides. Only I didn’t. And I really wish I had.

***

A Young Adult book (started age 35)


For two weeks now, I haven’t been able to sleep, and at the same time I’m so tired I wish they could give me some pill that would knock me out for the rest of my life. Suze offered to hook me up with something, but the last thing I want is to deal with this the way Suze would have. Feeling the pain is good, I tell myself. It’s thinking about ever being happy again that scares me.


My mom left for work an hour ago. The Super Save changed her from part time to full time a week after the funeral, but this is her first day back. I guess she thinks that since she has to be punished by going to work that I should drag myself to school today, too. What’s the point? I know people are going to be nice to me who never have been before, and then I’ll just have to punch them. Might as well put that off for as long as possible.


I lay here in my mom and dad’s bed, in the indentation that used to be him. I’m finally alone. Completely and utterly alone. And the tears just come bursting out. I guess I thought it would make me feel better, but instead my heart feels like it’s been run over. My head is pounding. My eyes sting. Curling into a ball, I roll over and hug the old shirt I grabbed out of the closet. I take a deep breath of the soap and cologne smell and pretend that he’s actually here rubbing my head and wiping my tears, the same way he did when I was in elementary school and the kids made fun of me. But pretending doesn’t help.


He’s gone.


And I’m starting to believe it.

***

The thing that kind of bothers me is that I still feel like that portion of a story I wrote when I was 28 is just as good (if not better) than what I’m writing now. Like I was disappointed that I haven’t grown in leaps and bounds from clear back then. Which brought me to the “Layers of Life” idea. I realized that the reason these don’t seem so different is that I put myself in them. My voice. A small portion of who I am as a person. I can’t help but package small pieces of me in the stories I write. So no matter the time period of the piece or age group it is written to, a small part of “Margie” is always going to be there.

So I guess my question to you is “Do you write yourself into your stories?” “What do you do to make each piece of writing unique from the other ones?” “And do you believe in the “Layers of Life Idea” like I do?”

This post was brought to you by Jenny Matlock's Alphebe-Thursday. If you would like to see more 'X' links, just click here

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sadness

I have to admit, I've been putting off this post. It's hard to write about things that are so fresh you still hear the echos of them in your sleep.

This has been a hard week for me.

Usually, I would gloss my pain over with some comment about how everything will be okay and that positivity will pull you through...or how wonderful I am. Usually I would do that. But right now, I can't.

I had two very dear friends lose the life they used to know, and it's shaken me a little.

On Saturday, I got a call that my friend's house was--at that moment--burning to the ground. My other friends and I rallied and went to see how we could help. I couldn't look at the house. I knew the memories were burning with it. I was glad that I got to see my friend and tell her how sad I was for her loss, but I couldn't look at the house.

While there, one of my other friends received a call that her husband had been in a Power Parachute accident. We rushed her home and waited with her, hoping he would be okay. He wasn't. That night, she learned her husband had passed from the injuries he sustained. This time, I couldn't stop looking. I couldn't believe something like this could happen to someone I love. I couldn't believe she was going to have to deal with this as young as she was.

And I refused to sleep. For days.

Because when people we love are hurting, we are hurting. And no matter what you do, you can't change their pain and loss. It's a very helpless feeling that sticks with you no matter how hard you try to shake it off.

It's not always easy to see the bright side and this is one of those times. So right now I am giving myself to permission to feel down for a while. I'm giving myself permission to cry a lot more than I normally would. And I'm giving myself permission to be angry that such horrible things can happen to such wonderful people.

In the end, that is what makes us human. The spectrum of emotions we face in our lifetime are essential to the human experience. The bad things teach us something about ourselves and the things we prize above all else. And isn't that what we are all here for...to learn, to love, and create connections with the people around us?

I think so, too.

So to those two dear friends from my writing group, know that I am thinking about you, praying for you, and hurting for your loss. I love you.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

THE YEAR OF AWESOME BIG OLD BLOG GIVEAWAY!

Being positive in a world of 'Debbie Downers."
Recently, I started a mission of self-appreciation. I made a goal in the new year to not post anything negative about myself or anyone else on my Facebook page or my blog. (So don't go reading any old blog entries, okay?)

Somehow, this has turned into a proclamation of extolling the virtues of myself as often as I can.

The funny thing is that people really, truly believe that I am some conceited prick heck-bent (that's the mormon version of hell-bent) on making myself look better than everyone else.

Which is not hard to do...

Hahaha...see what I mean?

It really has just been a big joke from the beginning. But it kind of bothers me that it has to be taken that way in order for people to accept it. I get that we are supposed to be humble and all that, but what is so wrong about looking for the positive in yourself and others?

Why is it okay to say that something bugs you, but not okay to give credit where credit is due. Case in point...the checkout line at Walmart...

It is all good if you turn to the person in front or back of you and say, "Man, these checkout lines are so freaking slow. I keep telling myself that I'll never shop at Walmart again, and yet here I am, stuck in the this stupid check-out line...AGAIN."

But it's not fine if you turn to the person in front or back of you and say, "Isn't Walmart such a great store? They have such low prices I just can't turn down coming here. I mean, I could, but I would have paid a ton more money to buy this same stuff at Kmart."

Another case in point, Your son's t-ball game.
It's great if, at your son's t-ball game, you say, "Those little boogers from that other team are cheating and man *wink, wink* I wonder if the ump is related to one of them. All the calls seem to be going in their direction."

But it's non-awesome to announce, "That other team has quit a few good players on it. The little number eight's hit was amazing. Did you see how far it went? Wow!"

And it is definitely okay to get on Facebook and say. "Man, I'm having a sucky day. The dry cleaning man burnt my shirt, my kids are driving me crazy, I'm starting to get a cold and feel like poo...etc. etc."

However, totally not cool to say, "I am so awesome. No matter what life throws at me, I smack it right back in life's face. Nothing can keep me down!" (Believe me, I know this to be true. :-))

Why are we such a society of whiners and complainers? Why do we link ourselves to others through complaint and self-doubt? Why do people like you more if you're willing to diss on yourself, but not give yourself a compliment every now and then?

Because, I have to tell you...shhhhh...lean close...I have to whisper so people don't think I'm a jerk...

Since I started this project for myself, I actually do feel as 'all that' as I pretend to. There is something about looking at the bright side on even your worst days that changes you as a person. And sometimes, when you pretend to like yourself, you find out that you actually do have a lot of amazing qualities others should be impressed by.

I'm just saying...


So I'm busting out a challenge to all of you in blog-land. If you agree with me, and you want to start looking on the bright side, and bragging about how freaking amazing you really are, take on the Margie Jordan: Year of Awesome: 2011 Challenge. It comes in three parts...

1) Comment on this post about something you rock at and become a follower.  (1 Entry)
2) Be my friend on Facebook and be willing to join in on posts of 'AWESOME-NESS'...(you might want to leave a comment when you request so I don't freak out that you're stalking me...because that's what happens to people to are really amazing. (hahaha). (2 Entries)
3) Write a blog post that lists 10 things you are better at than anybody else and link it to here.  (5 entries)

*You might ask, do I win something for this, and I might answer, "Yes, you win the permission to feel good about yourself." But that is a cop-out.

I'm also doing a drawing for a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Certificate (so you can buy a 'I Don't Need No Self-Help' book), a $25 Walmart Gift Certificate (because you have to have somewhere to practice your meeting new people in a positive way), and a $25 ITunes gift card (to buy music that inspires you to be great).  And yes, it is possible to win all three because I believe the first person I draw out for each one should be the winner. :-)

Happy 2011: THE YEAR OF AWESOME!

*Contest ends midnight, Saturday, February 26th!



Thursday, January 20, 2011

10 Reasons Why I Could Never Be Friends with Oscar the Grouch


Oh sure, you looks all nice and cute and fuzzy in this picture. But we all know better, don't we?
I'm doing a double link-up today…and this double link-up is going to be awesome! Just you wait. Link up at these two sites. Mama's Losin' It and:Jenny Matlock

The Writer's Workshop prompt was "10 Reasons Why I could Never Be Friends With…" and AlphabeThursday's Letter of the Week is 'O' as in Oscar.
Not only am I psyched that this post will work for both, BUT I seriously could never be friends with Oscar the Grouch. This might be surprising to SOME people who know me…okay a lot of people who know me. However, it is totally true.
(And for the record, I'm 'SNARKY' not 'GROUCHY'. J Okay? Moving on…)
So why couldn't I be friends with Oscar?
Here are my reasons counting down.
10) He is dirty.
I don't do dirty. Yes, my house can be a complete wreck sometimes. Yes sometimes (all the time) the breakfast dishes sit in the sink for a whole day. And Yes, you wouldn't want to look in the junk drawer between my fridge and stove. However, I don't enjoy my house being dirty. And it makes me grumpy to live in filth.

       9) He's green
I so don't look good in green. It is a horrible color for my complexion. Even standing next to him would make me look bad…and I can't have that.

      8) He hangs with animals.
Not a pet person myself. Can't stand pets in my home. Sorry to all you dog and cat lovers out there, but blegh, I hate them. I also hate when I go to someone's house and their dog or cat climb all over me. You might love them, but I don't! Tell them to get away from me. J

     7) He hangs with monsters.
Check out my earlier post about monsters in my closet and this will be very self explanatory.

     6) He is sarcastic
I'm sarcastic. That makes us too much alike. It would always be a competition who could be the most sarcastic. We would fight about it all the time… you get the picture.

     5) He lives in garbage.
Sick!

     4) He lives on Sesame Street
Some people might think this is a plus, but I don't. First of all, Sesame Street is too happy. I can not go smiling about my day all the time. Second of all, there is too much emphasis placed on counting and saying the alphabet. I just want to walk down the street, I don't want to have to count my steps as I do it, and I don't want to have to constantly say things like, "I am buying a can of Tuna. What letter does Tuna start with?"

     3) His best friend is a worm named Slimey
Uh, no explanation needed. Worms are disgusting.
    
     2) He has a girlfriend names Grundgetta that he can only stand half of the time.
Ever been friends with someone in a rocky relationship? Not fun! All you ever get to talk about is their horrible relationship, and though you wish you could just tell them to either shut up or dump the loser, you can't, because you're trying to be a nice friend. AND…you never dare say anything bad about the significant other because the next day they'll love them again and hate you for saying something rude about their one true love. Ugh, I don't even want to go there with Oscar.

AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON I COULD NEVER BE FRIENDS WITH OSCAR…

     1) He is way too negative!
I'm sarcastic, yes. I see irony in many parts of life. BUT I am not a negative person. I generally look at life through rose-colored glasses and find the weird things people do funny. I don't believe in looking at the dark side of things all the time. I can't stand complainers. And I think it is perfectly okay to love yourself and others. In general, I'm a pretty optimistic person and those kinds of people bring me down into their pit of despair.

If you are one those people…Like OSCAR THE GROUCH…can I just say a couple of things to you that I wish I could say to negative people in real life but never have the guts to?
Why do you sit around complaining about your miserable job? It DOESN'T change anything. If you hate it so much, then quit and find a different job. If you can't quit, then figure out at least one positive thing you get from that job. Being depressed and miserable never changes your circumstances. It just makes everyone want to stay away from you. In a world where most of what a grown-up has to do is a non-choice, it won't help you to complain. The only thing we all (EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON EARTH) have is the ability to control our attitude.

No one thinks it's awesome to hang around with a Debbie Downer all day. Period. End of Story!

So, sorry OSCAR. (And all who are in competition with him to see who can be the most negative).
I could never be friends with you.


Who could you never be friends with?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Me, Me, Me, Me, Me! (Yes...you can sing it)

So I've decided something.

I'm self-centered.

Really.

I Am.

Therefore, in honor of this day of "M," I decided to bust out with talking about myself. Me. MJ. Margie Moore (jordan). Mergatron (my family's nickname for me). The Big M.


What better way for people to get to know the real you, than with a list of favorites? LOVES. The things you could not do without for even a fraction of a second. I actually enjoy reading things like this on other blogs. I truly think you learn the most about people when you see what they adore...ahem...LOVE.


So here is my LIST...in semi-random order.

1. My family...of course. What kind of heartless jerk would not pick their family in a list of things they love. My children rock. My husband is awesome. My extended family is the BEST EVER. Honestly, I truly couldn't live for one second without my family. Period.
2. Disneyland. Okay so maybe I could live without it. But what would the world be without the most magical place on earth? Actually, not just Disneyland, but Disney in general. I grew up on Disney films. As a matter of fact, my dad used to bring home one of those old-fashioned movie projectors from his work and we would watch Disney movies on the wall of the living room. Some of my best memories are sitting on the green shag carpet in my living room(It was the 70's people, okay!), watching Lambert the Sheepish Lion, and eating home-popped popcorn out of a brown paper bag.

3. My computer. This seems so worldly to me...but it is no lie that I LOVE my computer. I don't spend hours on it, but the moments I do spend on it are part of the best part of my day. I love the fact that I can write, and rewrite, and edit, and copy, and cut, and paste at the touch of a button. I love that I can keep in touch with friends I might never have seen again through Facebook. I think it's the bomb to be able to meet new people through blogging. Seriously, the computer is the best invention ever...even better than cell phones. (I can hear some of you gasping right now. But it is the truth. Trying to surf the web on my phone sucks. The pictures are tiny and you have to scroll a gazillion times to read one email.)

Hawaii and Matsumoto's Shaved Ice

4. Food. I am...no lie...a food addict. I love pretty much any kind of food. I'm not picky at all. I remember events according to the food that was served there. I went to Hawaii for a week and what do I miss the most? The Blueberry Pancakes with Coconut Syrup, the Grilled Parmasan Encrusted Mahi-Mahi with Pineapple sauce, and the decadent Chocolate Kahluna Coffee Ice Cream Cake. Seriously. That's what I remember.


5. Vacations. I am NOT a homebody. I love traveling. When I get to a hotel room I think it is great unpacking my suitcase into the chest of drawers, so that it seems like I'm living there. Even if I stay for one day, I do this. The tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and lotion are like the best ever. And as long as I bring my pillow from home, I'm good. If I could, I would travel the world. But alas, I grew up middle class, so vacations were something planned two years in advance and saved up for. I've still never left the U.S.A., and it pains me. I want to go out of country SO BAD. *hint, hint*...this is where you invite me if you live out of the states. :-)

Especially if you live here...


And now without explanation...(because even I am getting bored talking about me...*gasp* something I never do) here are the rest of my loves.
6. Diet Coke
7. Chocolate
8. Breakfast cereal (even for dinner)
9. Playing in the snow (discovered that just last year)
10. Puzzles
11. My Kindle
12. Founders Favorite ice cream from Cold Stone
13. Being the best (and knowing it)
14. Singing---LOUD
15. Dancing---In Private
16. Zumba
17. Music, latest favorite...the kind that has a belly dancer feel to it. ;-) (yes, that is a wink)
18. Fuzzy socks
19. Laying out on a warm beach
and
20. Adventure! (I am a person who will really try anything at least once.)

Here's my proof... These pictures were taken from inside a shark diving cage in Hawaii.


Now it's your turn to let me know a little more about you. Do we have anything in common? What are your top 5 favorite things? Go...NOW...and comment.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Keeping up “The Love”


Let me begin with a passage by Mark Twain from his book Life on the Mississippi. I was going to take a small portion of this, but it is so well written, the language must be enjoyed by all…

     Now when I had mastered the language of this water and had come to know every trifling feature that bordered the great river as familiarly as I knew the letters of the alphabet, I had made a valuable acquisition. But I had lost something, too. I had lost something which could never be restored to me while I lived. All the grace, the beauty, the poetry had gone out of the majestic river! I still keep in mind a certain wonderful sunset which I witnessed when steamboating was new to me. A broad expanse of the river was turned to blood; in the middle distance the red hue brightened into gold, through which a solitary log came floating, black and conspicuous; in one place a long, slanting mark lay sparkling upon the water; in another the surface was broken by boiling, tumbling rings, that were as many-tinted as an opal; where the ruddy flush was faintest, was a smooth spot that was covered with graceful circles and radiating lines, ever so delicately traced; the shore on our left was densely wooded, and the sombre shadow that fell from this forest was broken in one place by a long, ruffled trail that shone like silver; and high above the forest wall a clean-stemmed dead tree waved a single leafy bough that glowed like a flame in the unobstructed splendor that was flowing from the sun. There were graceful curves, reflected images, woody heights, soft distances; and over the whole scene, far and near, the dissolving lights drifted steadily, enriching it, every passing moment, with new marvels of coloring.
     I stood like one bewitched. I drank it in, in a speechless rapture. The world was new to me, and I had never seen anything like this at home. But as I have said, a day came when I began to cease from noting the glories and the charms which the moon and the sun and the twilight wrought upon the river's face; another day came when I ceased altogether to note them. Then, if that sunset scene had been repeated, I should have looked upon it without rapture, and should have commented upon it, inwardly, after this fashion: This sun means that we are going to have wind to-morrow; that floating log means that the river is rising, small thanks to it; that slanting mark on the water refers to a bluff reef which is going to kill somebody's steamboat one of these nights, if it keeps on stretching out like that; those tumbling ``boils'' show a dissolving bar and a changing channel there; the lines and circles in the slick water over yonder are a warning that that troublesome place is shoaling up dangerously; that silver streak in the shadow of the forest is the ``break'' from a new snag, and he has located himself in the very best place he could have found to fish for steamboats; that tall dead tree, with a single living branch, is not going to last long, and then how is a body ever going to get through this blind place at night without the friendly old landmark?
     No, the romance and the beauty were all gone from the river. All the value any feature of it had for me now was the amount of usefulness it could furnish toward compassing the safe piloting of a steamboat. Since those days, I have pitied doctors from my heart. What does the lovely flush in a beauty's cheek mean to a doctor but a ``break'' that ripples above some deadly disease? Are not all her visible charms sown thick with what are to him the signs and symbols of hidden decay? Does he ever see her beauty at all, or doesn't he simply view her professionally, and comment upon her unwholesome condition all to himself? And doesn't he sometimes wonder whether he has gained most or lost most by learning his trade?

WOW!
Impressive, huh?

And this is what my blog post is all about.

I have always loved writing. I wrote poetry and short stories and picture books. And I loved them all. Then I decided to write a novel. And then another novel. And I decided to take some classes to learn more about how to improve this writing, and how to make it the best it could be. And I worked at it and I loved it.

Then.

I decided to try to get it published.

And I went over it sentence by excruciating sentence. And I thought about whether these characters were actually believable. And I worried that the plot wasn't right, or that the idea itself wasn't sellable. And I stressed and fretted and re-wrote and revised some more.

And I learned something.

These stories I had loved so much were becoming Mark Twain's river. I knew the nuances, avoiding the clich├ęs, creating the characters, nursing the plot points.
BUT I lost the love of the river at sunset, or I should say…I lost the love of just creating a story "for the fun of it."

Now I'm trying to get it back.

It's hard.

But yesterday…I created something I felt was beautiful in my eyes. It was phrased wonderfully and moved the plot forward AND built the character ALL IN ONE SENTENCE. And I thought…


WOW!

I am so glad I learned what I did, or I never would have been able to write this. Just like this. Perfect in my eyes.

So bring on the occasional missed sunset. If learning about the currents can help me write like that…well…I just think it's worth it.

Tell me. What point you are at in your life? Are you still enjoying the gorgeous sunsets and the water rippling in golden hues? Or are you only noticing the log jams and hidden dangers?
Whatever point you're at, I hope you remember to KEEP UP THE LOVE.