Sunday, February 28, 2010

Poetry Sunday~ Home sick

The Baltimore Skyline
Inner Harbor
I long to see the place called home
where all my kin are left to roam
where asphalt streets line like rails;
ships in the harbor with stately sails.

Yearning in the pit of my being
belonging nowhere but always seeing
parts of me that lay back there
where love abounds people that care.

The misery I left behind
is now long gone but there I’ll find
the blood of me it’s who I am.
They don’t know I give a damn.

Too many years, I’ve shed the pains
a shell of a woman is all that remains.
Time to see what I’m all about
and fly back home without any doubt.

I’ll shed the seasonal winter blues
cling to hope and morning news.
Drop back into my fresh made bed
the place I dwell and rest my head.

I’ll dream about the years gone by
think of home with tears I’ll cry.
Have they forgotten I’m still around,
a little lost but maybe found?

Don’t pity me for this painful plight,
Fill me with the glorious light.
I may not be back home for a while
I know where to turn when I need a smile.

The days will be somber until I see,
the faces of my family.
Proverb 7:19 For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey:

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Quotation Saturday

Matt. 10: 26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs, jolted by every pebble in the road.
--Henry Ward Beecher

Find the key emotion; this may be all you need know to find your short story.
--F. Scott Fitzgerald

The writer who cares more about words than about story – characters, action, setting, atmosphere – is unlikely to create a vivid and continuous dream; he gets in his own way too much; in his poetic drunkenness, he can't tell the cart – and its cargo – from the horse.
--John Gardner

I have a duty to speak the truth as I see it and share not just my triumphs, not just the things that felt good, but the pain, the intense, often unmitigated pain. It is important to share how I know survival is survival and not just a walk through the rain.
--Audre Lorde

Sharing our stories can also be a means of healing. Grief and loss may isolate us, and anger may alienate us. Shared with others, these emotions can be powerfully uniting, as we see that we are not alone, and realize that others weep with us.
--Susan Wittig Albert

No one is asking, let alone demanding, that you write. The world is not waiting with bated breath for your article or book. Whether or not you get a single word on paper, the sun will rise, the earth will spin, the universe will expand. Writing is forever and always a choice - your choice.
--Beth Mende Conny

He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears.
--Michel de Montaigne

You are a bundle of mysteries. Finding and conquering yourself is a lifetime task. There are unplumbed depths in you full of the rich ore of personal discovery. Explore yourself! There is power in you - the power to change yourself and to change the world; the power to create plans, projects, movements for the common good; the power to inspire and serve.
--Wilfred Peterson

Write because it fills you with joy. Read because it releases pain. Love because that is what God intended.
-- Joni

Friday, February 26, 2010

Pri No Wri Mo

John 9: 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

I did pri no a few years back and you know what, to get myself back on the constant of writing, I think I’ll do it again this year. (there’s a goal, June.)

What is PriNo? It’s Private Novel Writing Month which takes place in May. Like NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) we belt out 1500 words a day for a month. But in Mr. Bennings prino, any writing counts as a springboard, just as long as you are writing!

I need to get back on track and my friends June and Raven are always talking about setting goals for yourself. I got a little sidetracked last year when we moved and life was just all over the place for me, just ask Steven. It has still not returned to normal but at least I’ve had some focus lately, enough to get my blog done on a regular basis, mentoring f2k, keeping the forest alive in 911 (my group at WVU) and trying to keep up with the domestic stuff too.

Did you ever notice how life happens no matter what your goal is? If you make plans, they get broken. You set goals and they get sidetracked. You try so hard to keep some brevity and instead you get white-washed. I keep a positive outlook no matter what negative forces try knocking me down. They can pull out the bulldozers but guess what? I’m a Superwoman against those things and they can not and will not move me!

I think I have my story for prino in my head dancing around. Jayden is a girl who was looking for prince charming and realizes after many moons that she has only found the same thing she left behind, pain. Plenty of conflict will abound as Jayden and Prince Otto try to find a place of meeting of the minds but does Jayden know the secret of the power that brought her to this prince in the first place?

Can a protagonist be fear, mistrust, disillusionment? Does it really need to be a person, per se? Okay, I’ll put my spiritual spin on the story as usual and there will be many forces that battle it out for Jayden’s soul, and which one wins in the end, is anybody’s guess.

Maybe not exciting sounding as of yet, but remember, I’m just toying up there in my brain and something, I’m sure, will concrete itself and fixate on me in the process of building this tale. For now, it is a goal to work towards. I’ll get it together and noooo I won’t be sharing it with my blog friends because it’s a big secret as to what will happen to poor Jayden.

So there you have, prino! The force that will reckon with me to pull me back into the realm of imagination and character building. Maybe you all need to set some goals too, not just set them, stick to them!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

OOPS Factor

Job 19: 4 And be it indeed
that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself.

Oops that was wrong. Did you ever have that happen to you? Have an oops moment in writing? Well allow me.

The oops factor is a term we writers use when we have a, dare I say, mistake? This is why I say oops because it just sounds so much better and comes off as being retrievable but we all know, an oops is non- refundable.

Have you ever submitted a work and breathed that deep sigh of relief as you finally sent your work out and as months pass you think, “Hmmm, I still haven’t heard from them.” Then you pull the piece that you submitted out of the secret file that you have it hidden in, and take a second look at it.

OOPS! There it is, shining right in your face, a mistake glaring at you like an eyeball in the sky! It is plain as day so why didn’t you see it BEFORE you clicked that little submit button? Why? Because you were already excited about sending it out into the realm of the unknown and thought for sure it would bring you joy as it got the old accepted letter (one that you quickly print out and make a beautiful new wallpaper out of.)

Lesson learned. Before you ever submit, click submit, or send out your work, there is a checklist that you as a writer need to be aware of that will make the wait less tense filled and maybe a more pleasant outcome will result by doing the list!

1. Always check the guidelines. If it calls for 1200 words, don’t ever think that your writing is so special that the editors will overlook that one word extra that you added. In poetry markets they usually ask for 20-26 lines, don’t give them 30. It will get tossed in the trash. Also check the requirements for font and spacing. No editor wants fancy font! Remember that.

2. Always check for grammatical errors. This is important for submitting to magazines or workshops that you might be in. Putting your best work forward shows the reader that you have taken the time to know what it is that you are submitting. Editors are not going to fix your punctuation errors, nor is any writing group. Learn the concept.

3. Always check the correct spelling. If you are in Canada, then editors want the correct spelling, ie: labor/labour. But in America, they want the American spelling or else they will ask for the proper English spelling.

4. Don’t assume. Don’t assume that your work will be critiqued by a magazine editor. If she/he drops you a note saying fix this or that, then good for you! But they will NOT correct grammar, spelling issues for you, this should have been done before hitting the submit button!

5. ALWAYS and I mean always after writing, revising and preparing to submit, let it STAND for a day or two and come back with an eagle eye and read it. Read it OUT LOUD so you get the right sound to a sentence.

These are simple five tips that will aid you in the rechecking of your work before submitting. Don’t let the editors have to work for what they are reading. Give them something clean and professional and chances are you’ll get that acceptance letter sooner than expected.

Write Right Folks!

p.s. Thanks Raven :-)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Something Wicked this way Comes

Genesis 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

Something Wicked this way Comes...

Just so you know, I write spiritual stuff. I embrace the light and everything that means to you and me. I try my darnedest to walk in an upright manner sharing and giving love where it might lack. But as for my writing, now that’s a totally different story. (Pardon the pun.)

Most of the time when I’m writing a short story, I start off with my heroine as this upstanding epitome of the highest perfection, then as I’m sitting there writing, something takes over my character and things start to happen. It is as if she has been overcome by the dark force and then my story heads down a path of unknown.

A discussion began in the f2k class when a woman asked if she was the only one where her ‘people’ seem to take charge and the story basically writes itself or is written by these people (aka characters.) Many of us writers piped in to assure her that not only do our characters claim full reign but that what we had intended on the story being took a turn somewhere along the line and we came up with something utterly different than what we proposed the story line to be about.

I’m wondering if this ghost that takes over is our conscious turning off the internal editor. You see, we all write with the internal editor on. We backtrack every paragraph, we spellcheck a page, we’re constantly checking for consistencies and inconsistencies. With that mind, remember, you lose something along the way. You’re so worried about everything being right, you miss the point of where you went wrong.

As writers we can not try so hard that we lose sight of the story. I’m telling you, when you try to write a story, when you try to get it perfect, when you keep trying so hard to make everything right, it is at this point that you’ve lost the basis of your story. You’ve allowed the characters to quiet down and hide in the shadows. You have essentially put tape over their mouth’s and you, the writer creator of the work, has taken over to make your work perfect.

Guess what? Nobody is perfect! I bet that was enlightening wasn’t it? You need to put tape over your brain! ha ha. Turn the internal editor off. Don’t tell me, but, but, but it is too hard. Tell me, okay I will and see what kind of story you write. You’re characters will come out of the shadows, they will become people who are shaped by your fingers but their conscious. They will carry an air of mystery with them as good verses evil challenge each other to a duel. The characters will become people, no longer cardboard cut-outs. Living breathing entities.

In essence, something wicked this way comes.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Too Much Knowledge?

Psalm 45: 1 My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

Can one ever read too much?

Boy I really had my mind going last night. I wanted to know if one can ever read too much and I didn’t get surprising answers.

I expected to hear, “One can never read too much.” Just so you know, I wasn’t referring to fiction, writer’s. I was referring to the books on the craft of writing. I personally don’t think you can ever read too much, in the way of fiction but really, you can over educate yourself to the point of blank pages that are in front of you waiting to be written on.

What does one Writing book have that is different than the other 500 hundred that are out there? If you have your hands on one, and it clicks in your brain. You move onto writing and utilizing what you’ve learned.

You read ten, fifteen books on the craft and your mind begins jumbling all the knowledge like a juggler in the circus. All the ideas are up in the air, one lands solidly in your hand, then *whoof* it goes back up in the air and you wind up never really grasping the idea you began with.

Maybe some people like to read and read and finally write, but then it doesn’t come out so well and they wonder what all that reading was for if they’re not gaining any insight to the craft and artistry of writing.

I think I’ve said this before, writing is not a learned craft. You can not educate yourself to the point that you become a wonderful writer. Writers are born with the intuitive craft inside them. They learn grammar in school, learn all the prepositions and adverbs, then they write little ditties for the school assignment. It is at this point you will either feel something naturally, or you won’t.

You’ll continue to try and please the teacher with words and with every, “Great job,” you’ll believe your the master writer God had intended you to be. But now keep in mind, it is your teachers job to tell you that you did great work, it is your parents heartfelt duty to resound the trumpet and pump you up in esteem. It isn’t the writers job to tell you that, “You’re an awesome writer!” It is, hopefully, their job to help you along in your writing and when they see something not quite right, they gently point it out to you. By all means, when they see something right, they point out that too because it worked for them.

A keen eye keeps the writer writing and growing. An overly educated writer keeps his/her head in the books and never really writes. A writer knows the balance. In life and in writing, we need to know the balance between reading, writing, learning and educating. Don’t over do it or you’ll lose sight of who you are, and that is, a WRITER!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Poetry Sunday ~ The Light in the Darkness

Psalm 38:10 My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.
The Light in the Darkness
(c) Joni Zipp
The rooms are dark and lonely,
coldness creeps in the crack,
the sofa sorely empty
for life this house does lack.

The walls melt with sadness
we cling to yesterday
the floor it shivers to the core
my home is far away.

Mirrors all lay shattered;
tiny shards remain;
the tinted window clouds my view
all that's left is pain.

I swing the door wide open
to breathe the fresh morn air
A beacon blazes in the sky
it hangs without a care.

The sun it melts all the pain
that swells within my heart.
A radiant beam shines on me
A message to impart.

Inhale all the beauty
that you can sense and feel
without the Light to guide you
your life will not seem real.

I am here, your guiding force
that beckons you to stay.
I need the fragile hand of you,
to light the darkest day.

All rights reserved: copyright © Joni Zipp

Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Quotation Saturday

I know what lies around the corner in my life -- I peeked. ~joni


“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”
-Aldous Huxley

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
-Viktor Frankl

“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”
-Nathaniel Braden

“A sign of wisdom and maturity is when you come to terms with the realization that your decisions cause your rewards and consequences. You are responsible for your life, and your ultimate success depends on the choices you make.”
-Denis Waitley


The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other comes from a strong won't.

-Henry Ward Beecher

Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one's own sunshine.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.

-Ursula K. Le Guin

A word is a bud attempting to become a twig. How can one not dream while writing? It is the pen which dreams. The blank page gives the right to dream.

-Gaston Bachelard


When one door of happiness closes another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

-Helen Keller

Once we choose hope, everything is possible.

-Christopher Reeve
People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are.

I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them.

-George Bernard Shaw

We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.

-Kurt Vonnegut

Friday, February 19, 2010

Plot! Plot! Fizz! Fizz!

Gen. 1: 1 "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
The very first plot was born

Yesterday we talked about theme and today we’re going to talk about plot. What, you thought they were one and the same? Well they differ slightly.

You see, the theme is what is carried throughout your story. Let say, good vs. evil and the good triumphs. (always does doesn’t it?) This struggle between good and evil is an underlying force swerving in and out of the lanes, around the bend and sometimes flies right off the edge of the cliff!

The plot is the reason behind the story. Why does the man fall in love, why doesn’t the woman fall for him, why on earth do they rob a bank? Why does the woman suddenly fall in love? What happens to their lives while on the run before getting nabbed?

A lot of times as you’re writing, the plot changes. Maybe you had in mind the above scenario of man meets woman, but then he finds that she has a child that she’s been hiding from her estranged ex-husband. They no longer want to rob a bank, they want to both see the child safely across the border into another country. These are the kind of conflicts that are going to keep the reader turning the pages.

You see? The plot isn’t a set of rules that you play by. Sure someone can say “plan your plot THEN write the story,” but as a writer (and as a human being) I find that plans never go the way they are intended. Unintentionally, they go somewhere you hadn’t planned at all. This is where the creative writer expands his/her imagination and delves into the unknown.

Breeding familiarity is not a place for your plot. Your story needs to be UNIQUE, something that ISN’T out there on the shelf right now. A lot of writers try the backward method. And that is writing the last scene first and backtracking to the beginning. Seeing it from this angle, you’re in the midst of creating a plot.

In essence the plot is the WHY your story is taking place (character’s etc.) You character is what’s going to shape your plot. Create a good character, give him/her their own profile, (what color eyes, hair, faults, vices, benefits etc.) With each part of the character’s development, the plot will surface. Always ask WHY and the next paragraph will form itself (in your mind’s eye.) Write your heart out without even thinking of a plot.

Allow the plot to become a mirage way off down the road, the closer you get to it, the clearer the whole picture becomes.

And whatever you do folks, WRITE RIGHT!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Theme of Things

Theme ~~ what is it and why do writer’s need the haunting lure of it to reign in the reader?

It is good practice to carry a theme throughout your story. The theme of your story is usually implied through other elements, such as point of view, setting, imagery and the tone set throughout your piece of work. The theme becomes illuminated through these elements of style.

The theme is the underlying consciousness of your work. It is a central idea running like a stream throughout your work making it come together like cogs on a machine. Your theme will be the bonding of you and the reader, where he/she has a lightbulb moment, grasping what you have conveyed. If you have no theme, more than likely, you have no story that will glue the reader to your words and pages.

Sometimes the theme is not planned and often it changes in mid-writing. You had planned on your theme to be about the acceptance of death on humanity, but something happened along the typing path that had you (unconsciously) shifting to the beauty of mortality.

An idea is of the broader spectrum of the rainbow, where as the theme becomes subjective without limitations to you or your reader; over the rainbow so-to-speak. It is like feeding to your reader what he was thinking to be a lighthearted comedy, instead he received a thought-provoking piece of art that touched him profoundly.

If you’ve written 2500 words and haven’t a clue as to what your theme is, maybe go back and re-read, seeing if you missed something. It is possible that even you, the writer, missed the boat.

The theme is the underlying canvas to which you place the paint. You pick up a paintbrush (that looks an awful lot like a pen) and in a whimsical spin you begin creating art with words. As you feel the artistic flow being created subconsciously you will be spilling part of your sight and wisdom onto the canvas creating …a theme.

1.Don’t force a theme ~ It can’t be done and will come off as preachy or forced.

2.Write what you know ~ Writing what you have experienced in life and the hardships is perfect for the theme setting to begin. In fiction embellish your heart out.

3.Use a psychological approach ~ Think depth when you write. Is there a deeper meaning than what you had anticipated?

4.Try subtlety ~ Being subtle makes the reader do the thinking on many levels.

5.Do NOT struggle ~ Struggling to find a theme or to make your theme work will also assist you in losing the personality of your characters. Writing should come naturally, the theme will surface without your realization. Accept the theme you have and don’t try to change it. Natural flow is best.

Write Right friends!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Writing on a Diet

Live your dream and write right, it's what we writer's do. Learn from your mistakes and move on. ~joni
Well I don’t really need a diet, I’m thin by nature. But my words might need a little exercising. What I mean is, words are worth their weight in gold. If used wisely and correctly, every single word you use will compliment the other.

It’s like that nice little black purse complimenting the dress and heels. When we use one word for a sentence it will compliment the others and in this way our writing will take shape and form. It’s like building muscle mass within the words.

So how can we put our writing on a diet? I can go through many people’s writings, find too many if’s, and’s, and or’s; weighty words that have no use being in a sentence, too many adverbs or maybe the use of big words, that make you sound smart, but have no place in the story or the sentence.

We shape our sentences into paragraphs. If a paragraph is not solid it will appear as a floppy disc, just dangling in the wind. Firm up your writing with words that are strong and words that need to be in the sentence to carry it along. I strongly recommend having a thesaurus on hand. Let’s say you can’t think of a word, it has been alluding you to no end. Look us a similar word in the thesaurus and surely you’ll find a word in equal strength as the one you were looking for, or even a better word with muscle.

When you have a writing group behind you, it helps a lot because they can sometimes see things that you can’t. Lets say you’ve read your work, it is perfect to you, you post it in your workshop and someone says, “Hey, maybe lose this or that. Restructure this or that.” Their eyes are seeing something that maybe you did not see. That is why we have second drafts and third, fourth,etc., etc.

So I’m here to tell you to put your writing on a diet. No the first draft isn’t supposed to be perfect, it is supposed to be you, getting your story out on paper. Your second draft, you’re going to trim here and there, to make it appear exercised, so to speak. I would advise not posting a first draft for your workshop, because when they see all the mistakes and errors, or a weighted piece of work, they’re going to pick your work apart making you feel insufficient as a writer.

Why not post your best work and let them see you shine as a writer. So they pick it apart and see things that you didn’t. This is where you’re going to add, delete, walk away with a feeling of security and move on. Write Right, that’s what I always say.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Comparative Writing

Mark 15: 20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.

I need to make writers aware of a trap that they are setting for themselves and need to be cautious before you get snared and wind up getting a foot cut off or something. Okay, maybe not that drastic but still, there are ramifications.

I have no specific person in mind here, I am thinking generally as a writer. Have you ever compared your work to anyone? All my life, I was compared to this one or that one. My sister always said, “Well Joni, this or Joni that.” I lived in the comparative world always being compared to something or someone.

I fought my way through the layers so that I would stand out on my own, and I think anyone who knows me, that is the one thing they will attest to, “Joni has a personality all her own, yup, the girl is unique!”

This is what I try to bring to my writing. I don’t want to be compared to someone else. I know I’ve covered this topic before, probably on individuality, but I’m here again to say, “Don’t compare your work, to someone else's!”

When I write, whether it is poetry, or a story. My words are my own. They carry their own weight and are as unique as a thumbprint, my thumbprint. My mother told me last night that my aunt had called and asked how I was doing, did my mother tell her? No, she said she didn’t say anything because my aunt was just being nosy and wants to know my business. I said, tell her, I have nothing to hide. “Well she just wants to know if you’re working,” (here’s the money thing again with my family) I said, “Did you tell her I’m a writer, writing my heart out every day? That life is a struggle but we get through with a smile and I fall asleep at night in peace knowing we’re in God’s hands?”

Ha ha ha! She didn’t want to hear that. She’d rather lie and say she knows nothing. (There I divulged ANOTHER truth, my mother likes to lie her way out of a paper bag. Am I ashamed? Not at all. She is who she is, I am who I am, and I thank God everyday that HE molded and shaped me and taught me right from wrong.

So here again, compared to my brothers I have nothing. Compare me to my sister I have a little, compare me to anyone and the trap is set for Joni to break. But guess what? When we compare our writing to another persons work, it is only us that is going to get hurt. Not the other writer. No one is perfect but we are all individual. We have our own unique voice that will carry echoes through the valleys and give our ancestors something they can hold onto.

Joni’s kid will say, “My mom was one of a kind.” To him, I’m a living legacy and that is all matters to me in life. It isn’t what I do or have, it is what thumbprint I leave behind.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Emotional Overload

Jude 1: 2 Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.
Well how was everyone’s Valentines day? Good? Good.

I personally think that it is one day that is way overrated. Did you ever notice that as soon as the Christmas stuff goes down in January that they start loading up the shelves with everything Valentine?

From teddy bears, to chocolates, to balloons, to flowers. Simply over stuff the shelves and people will have Valentine’s Day shoved down their throat so much that they can’t miss it! Take that, consumer.

I’ve looked at the legends behind February 14th and some sound outrageous but others sound plausible. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men (gasp) — his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

St. Valentine would HAVE to be of the male species wouldn’t he? It seems more believable that a woman, whose heartstrings play the tune of love daily would be the reason behind this day of love but no, a man is to blame.

According to yet another legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl — who may have been his jailor's daughter — who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today.

Do you see what I’m getting at here? Are we humans that gullible to put our whole being behind a day that was in essence began as a pagan ritual? We have Cupid the god of love, St. Valentine, the bearer of tidings of love, put them together, you have another pagan holiday thrown at your feet.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well because, you see, we’re writers and we have the imagination of the ancients. We can create, spread and make immortal legends of our past too. Of course they more than likely won’t make a holiday where you have hundreds of thousands of dollars spent but hey, the story is there at your fingertips waiting to come alive.

I want today to be St. Joan of Arc Day! Now let me get my fingers tapping and make a story out of it, create a legend and voila! Create a legend. Enjoy the 21st century.

So what did I do for St. Valentines Day? I attended church, came home and had nachos. End of story. (Oh, I wrote a LOVE poem, but I do that all the time and for any occasion.)

Remember this, you don’t need one day to be put aside to give, share or feel love! But, I guess we humans of the 21st Century do need a day to be reminded to love.

Uh oh...better look comes Peter Cottontail and the Lucky Charm leprechaun.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Poetry Sunday~ Destiny

by: Joni Zipp
The stars they tiptoe across the sky
emitting light for you and I
A twinkle here, a shimmer there
a pirouette without a care.

A bold ballet in the expanse
friction of light; nothing to chance.
How we met and came to be
was nothing short of destiny.

Our souls collided with light fair ease
a wayward laugh lost in the breeze.
Never knowing where we’d be led,
with years behind and many ahead.

Our love will dance just like the stars
within the cosmos across to Mars.
On the horizon and into the plains
springtime showers, the summers rains.

From here on out our love will grow
display a gorgeous wondrous show.
No need for eyes to dearly impart
all the warmth lain in my heart.

All the years we’ve shared together
through the wind and stormy weather.
For years to come our love will soar
Eternity lasts forever more.

On this day I duly declare
all my love beyond compare.
As rays of light have no end,
My Valentine, to you I send!



Matt. 22:37 Jesus said unto him,thou shall love the Lord your God with all thy heart,and with all thy soul and with all thy mind.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Quotation Saturday

Happy Valentine’s Day to you who celebrate the day.
To me, everyday is celebrated in LOVE!
<3 <3 <3

I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind
That I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world.
Elton John ~ Your Song ~ Our Song


The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.
~Carl Jung (1875 - 1961)

If love closes, the self contracts and hardens...
~Charles Horton Cooley

Love is more than a sentiment; it is a need, a hunger, a thirst which is perfectly natural... Love is the beginning and end, the one sentiment in nature that will not be denied.
~Ernest Holmes

Give me ears, I will listen. Give me fingers, I will touch. Give me eyes, I will see so much.
Give me a scent and I will know, Give me love...and my heart will grow.
~Joni Zipp

On Books...

"I suggest that the only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little further down our particular path than we have gone ourselves."
~E. M. Forster

"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book."
~Groucho Marx

"A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas-a place where history comes to life."
~Norman Cousins


"So great has been the endurance, so incredible the achievement, that, as long as the sun keeps a set course in heaven, it would be foolish to despair of the human race."
~Ernest L. Woodward

"Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right."
~Henry Ford

"It is not so much what you believe in that matters, as the way in which you believe it and proceed to translate that belief into action."
~Lin Yutang

"Never talk defeat. Use words like hope, belief, faith, victory."
~Norman Vincent Peale


Small things can often make big things bearable.
~Kuki Gallmann, I Dreamed of Africa

Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I am tempted to think there are no little things.
~Bruce Barton

You lie the loudest when you lie to yourself.
~Author unknown

Your mind is like a functions only when open.
~Author unknown

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dialog or Dialogue?

Numbers 16:31 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them:

“Excuse me, can you help me?”

No! I’m busy.

“But I need your help in understanding something.”

Okay, but make it quick, I have a lot of work to do here.

“What is dialog? And why can’t I use tags?”

Well, missy, you need to listen up. Dialog is a conversation between two people in a story. Like what we’re doing?

“Are we in a story?”

No, but your on my blog and I’m talking to you!


Did you see that play on words up there? This weeks lesson at f2k is dialog. The word dialog can be spelled with the U.E or without, just for those of you grammar checkers out there. I’ve looked up the word and either spelling is acceptable.

Anyway, our lesson is for dialog with no tags. Tags are the cozy words at the end of who is speaking.

“Excuse me, can you help me?” she says in a timid way.

“No! I’m busy.” The lady behind the counter grumbles.

Practicing not using tags, really helps you see into the window of the characters. We have no backdrop, no setting up of the scene, we have words. Words that need to be read by the reader, and they need to follow who is speaking. If you can’t do a 500 word piece of dialog with no tags, then you need to strengthen the personality of your characters.

Something always stands out with your character, whether it is a strong accent, a southern belle type character, a farmer Bob type guy. In practicing no tags, we’re fleshing out our character and giving them personality and making them come alive.

Yes, in books we use tags. Novels are written with the dialog using tags, but take a look at those novels, any one of them. The dialog does not have a tag EVERY SINGLE sentence of a conversation. It doesn’t because once you’ve established who is speaking, you can really carry a conversation along a few pages with a tag here and there.

This is a tough lesson also. I never said that F2k was this easy, fly by night course on easy writing. No, it teaches important skills that are going to carry you through your writing and hopefully have you writing better with just one course. Maybe through all my blog posts on the matter of the free course, you can tell if it is something that you’d like to try when we offer it again in April.

Even if your not a writer, maybe this course will give you something to try for. Believe me, it will help when you’re jotting down a blog too. You’ll soon see that this course will have you using these skills without you realizing that you’ve drank from the knowledge pool and are now serving it to others.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Cowardly Lion: What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the "ape" in apricot? What have they got that I ain't got?
Scarecrow,Tinman and Dorothy in unison: COURAGE!

Every time I hear the word courage, I can not help but think of the cowardly lion with his portly round face, long black whiskers, bouncing curly mane, holding the end of his tasseled tail in his hands saying, “I am a coward! I haven't any courage at all. I even scare myself.” Crying to Dorothy over and over, you could almost feel sorry for the poor thing.

But we know that Lions are the king of the jungle, right? And they're fierce hunters, always coming out on top. That’s what writers need to be, courageous to a fault. We can’t just sit back and diminish all of our hard work. We can’t sputter around repeating, I’m no good, I haven’t any courage to be a writer.

When you start off with that mindset, your essence of being begins to believe those very words. They cling to you like gum on a shoe. I’m telling you, the more you doubt yourself, the stronger and stronger the pull will be to keep you from ever becoming all that you were meant to be as a writer.

It is never easy being courageous, the easy way of the timid mouse is much easier, crawling in a hole, sneaking out for a bite of cheese. Is that the kind of writer you intend on being, a cute little country mouse? I don’t think so because those writers might have their one story of fame like Harper Lee, who wrote one book To Kill a Mockingbird, sold millions, and left two unfinished novels in her wake. She never felt good enough I imagine, even after the acclaim.

I don’t know the secret to courage. I do know courage is a scary thing that means facing fear head on with your chin UP. Walking into a burning building to save a child, jumping into icy waters to save a dog from freezing and dying, running into a flaming tower while it’s about to collapse, that all takes courage. Here, all I’m asking is for writers to write and brave the storm of rejection. Think about it, it doesn’t really take courage but it might be considered as such if writing and submitting is your fear.

Writing takes courage because you’re putting your heartstrings on a page for everyone to read. As I’ve said, pieces of your are woven throughout your writing, and your reader is going to see, the uninhibited exposed you.

Door mouse or Lion, your choice. The hunter or the hunted, the small or the big, the one who fears or the fearless? You remember the Wizard of Oz, don’t you? The cowardly lion had the courage the whole time, he just needed someone to say he had it. And think of how good he felt after realizing the fact.

Writers, you’ve got it! Now WRITE!

The Wicked Witch of the West very last words: Oh what a world, what a world. How could a little girl like you destroy all of my beautiful wickedness?

Very easy I say....SHE HAD COURAGE!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Knowledge is Power

2 Samuel 22: 33 God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.
Do you really understand that statement? Knowledge is power? Let’s think for a moment shall we? Without the knowledge that we have as individuals, we could never carry on living day to day with functions and technology. We’d wither for sure.

We begin drinking in knowledge from the day we’re born. Yup, the day you were born and inhaled air for the first time, your mind wondered what all the light was from. From that day on you sought to know the light source; where it came from and why it was here, who created it and so on.

Month after month your thirst for knowledge went from the mini to the macro. And as you grew, you wielded the power that knowledge gave you. What? You don’t wield power? Yeah sure you don’t. Never have? Okay, you’re lying to yourself.

Think back a minute. Remember those days when you were thirsty, you were a newborn with wrinkles the size of a cavern, soft as a cloud yet you, the tiny little rugrat, wielded power! You CRIED! When you cried, your mother gave you milk or food or a pacifier, or whatever else to satisfy you so you wouldn’t cry anymore.

You realized this crying game made you achieve something. You my friend, wielded the POWER like it was a red flag of warning to your mom. You knew that crying was one way to get her to notice YOU! You knew knowledge was power, and that wielding the juicy stuff, got you places.

We did this all of our lives but we’ve gotten more creative. Now when we want something, we ask for it. The older we get, the less we whine for something(most of us whine less, anyway), but still we wield our power, this is great knowledge.

As writers we need this knowledge to propel us forward. I say, you can never gulp down enough knowledge but you have to be willing to understand how you can wield it, or as we get more advanced as humans, we utilize our knowledge. We’re going to put to use all that we have gained.

We’re going to become better writers, we’re going to revise our work, we’re going to be persistent and persevere until we become a published author. Then when we become published authors, we’re going to be energized enough to move forward like a freight train and keep going. Not for the love of money, but for the love of writing and for the fact that we now know...knowledge has given us POWER!

Monday, February 08, 2010

~Write Right~

Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
Emotionally Write Right

I thought that Write Right was a creative blog name but it must not be, because I found one with an extremely familiar name. And wow, this person actually has the same topics for posts that I did over a year ago!

Is it plagiarism or is it a non-creative mind that sinks their teeth into my blog and repost theirs, just flipping the words around adding and taking away a few words here and there. That person has three posts so far and I will surely keep my eye on the blog, of the same title, minus my One Voice!

I used One Voice because I am only one voice among thousands of writers wanting to help writers along in their growth. I try to come up with creative posts, so that you the reader will find learning, interesting. We writers are part of a collective conscience that interestingly enough, thinks alike. We write the same things, feel the same motion of words, create pieces of art out of shapeless clay.

I write poetry to relieve stress and in the process I inspire others to write or feel something they knew was inside them, they just needed a boost to trigger the memory of what it was. My poetry is a trigger of those emotions. Some people get triggered and some people read without a hint of emotion, leaving them sagging throughout their life. If emotions don’t make you sit up and take stock of your life, then how on earth are you going to write?

No matter what type of characters you have in mind when you're writing, your emotional state is going to feed those characters. It will give them either an unfeeling straw kind of character, or you will create one with a rainbow of words shaping your character in many colors, with many hidden aspects. You can’t just have a cardboard cutout of a character, one without any shape, just the same old thing used over and over again. Your writing will get nowhere with this kind of character.

Our emotions will shape our characters in every way. I read Stephen Kings “On Writing” and in the book, although it it is more of a memoir, he states he was a heavy drinker and basically, the drinking shaped his characters into these weird, all out crazy maniacal people. The alcohol had an affect. Now since he has quit drinking, he has written some of his best work, Lisey’s Story is a spellbinding tale, with a rainbow of characters each having their own personality. You can tell his mind is clear.

Emotions are what drives our characters and our state of mind spits them out onto the paper. I’m hoping you don’t spit on the paper and that you spill words, dredged up from the pit of your being and state of mental health bringing forth a delicious character. Remember, pieces of our characters are all bits of us. Give the world a great character and we see little crumbs of you, the writer. Become One Voice to YOUR reader.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Poetry Sunday~ One Voice

Gen. 22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

One Voice
All rights reserved: copyright © Joni Zipp
I hear the voice in the still of the night
it whispers to me causing a fright
I toss and turn I can not sleep
this voice I hear is from the deep.

It wells within the heart of my being
sweltering my soul I wind up fleeing.
Alone in this world with nothing to hold
I straddle my fears as if I am bold.

I wallow in the shapeless city
there to smother in my own pity.
I know no one who’ll toss me a rope,
clinging here; relishing hope

The voice it says, “You must convey
your message to all so they’ll obey.”
but is my voice reaching the few
who need it the most, who haven’t a clue?

I’ll spread out my inspired word
in hopes one ear it will be heard.
Handling the message that I must give,
an awesome release of all I live.

One voice...
All rights reserved: copyright © Joni Zipp

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Quotation Saturday

Words cut like a knife across your heart; you either bleed...or smile.~joni

Humanity can be quite cold to those whose eyes see the world differently.
~Eric A. Burns, Gossamer Commons, 08-24-05

I started concentrating so hard on my vision that I lost sight.
~Robin Green, Northern Exposure, Burning Down the House, 1992

All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, and desire.
~Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)

You cannot have a proud and chivalrous spirit if your conduct is mean and paltry; for whatever a man's actions are, such must be his spirit.
~Demosthenes (384 BC - 322 BC), Third Olynthiac

I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.
~John Locke (1632 - 1704)

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
~Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.
~King Whitney Jr.

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. ~Andy Warhol (1928 - 1987), The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

If you want changes to take place in the world, start with the man in the mirror.
~joni and MJ

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Wonder of it All

Genesis 24:21 And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not.

Did you ever wonder why you became a writer? Do you ever wonder what keeps you writing?

I don’t wonder why I became a writer because it’s always been there. I remember writing stories when I was six years old. Well, I always told stories and tried to write them down, pretending to be this big famous writer.

I remember when I was eight years old writing my mother her first card for Valentine’s day. I do believe it was a roses are red type poem, but I’ve never bought my mother another card after that, I’ve always written them. I wrote poems for every occasion that arose whether it was my mothers birthday or my fathers, mothers day, Easter, Christmas and I even wrote my neighbors a poem when their dog passed away.

I also remember my neighbors telling me that it was the most beautiful poem they ever read, and here I was no older than 10. Were they just saying that? Or had I really touched them with my words? I like to think I reached deep into their heart and placed a hug there so they would be comforted, all through my love of words. This tiny bit of recognition encouraged me. Sure my mother and father loved my poetry, but it was just words to them, nothing I could ever make a career out of.

Writing is an expression of emotion that we carry with us and display through our language. We write to convey a message or to get things off our chest. No matter what the case, being a writer isn’t something that you dream about, it is something you are born with, deep inside and whether you find it hidden there, is up to you.

What keeps me writing? Not being able to do much else. ha ha, I’m kidding there. What keeps me writing is the love and passion that flows through my fingertips. Sometimes I write or tap and keep tapping without even knowing where I’m going to wind up. It’s like taking a drive at night without a definitive destination in mind. You’re in the drivers seat, heading to who knows where, and when you park you realize what you came to this spot for.

Does that make sense? Ask a writer, they’ll tell you. When they begin they only have a vague idea where they are going with a story and before they know it, they’ve penned thousands of words coming out with a finale that they knew was there, they just didn’t know it when they started. The same theory for poetry. You can’t force a poem, it just flows or it doesn’t.

This is what keeps me writing. The love of the unknown. In this world of craziness, writing is my sanity. In this place we call Earth, writing is my comfort. In a hectic life, this is my stability. This abode, I find myself. This domicile, I am me. Within these letters...I find a safe haven.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Thought-filled Thursday

Matt. 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

Today I have a trillion things on my mind. Did I say trillion, yeah that’s the new figure the Prez is throwing out so I thought I’d use it too instead of saying a million. It makes it sound like so much more than a mil, eh?

First on my list are thoughts of why I write. I’ll have to elaborate on another post as to the WHY part. Second is that my feelings got hurt last night by my father and when it is your father, you can’t wake up and the feeling be gone.

You see, my family has never been supportive of me as a writer. If I’m not making a million dollars and sharing it all with them, then this journey is a worthless mission. And they pretty much let me know it.

If I say, I published a poem, my dad replies, “How much did ya get paid for it?” I say, “Well, they published it on the net and I get exposure and a contributors copy of their magazine.” He grumbles, “Well that’s not gonna feed ya.”

Does he even know that my writing DOES feed me? If I didn’t write, I would wither away into nothingness. I wouldn’t exist anymore. It is the very essence of my being that this thing called “writing” feeds.

People always ask writer’s what they get paid. If you’re not getting paid then their eyes roll into the backs of their head, and they look at you like you’ve lost your marbles. I remember last year when we were in a ‘Government agency’, I had told the lady I was homeschooling my son, I was a stay at home mom, and a writer. Her words? “Well you need to get a real job.”

Writing isn’t a job? Unless you get paid? How many authors out there are writing to fulfill a dream, trying so hard in life to actually become something, only to be discouraged by family? Aren’t they the ones who are supposed to stand by you and lift you up?

Oh I get it, they’re afraid I’ll get so down-on-my-luck that I’ll need to crawl to them for,dare I say the word, money! I’ve never asked my family or anyone for that matter for money. If they give it to me, it is because, I thought, they wanted to be a caring and compassionate person so they feel right with God, with their soul. Boy was I wrong, they do it so they can feel good about themselves and then say, “Hey God, I helped them, can you let me in now?”

It is a rare person who reaches out to you in your time of need, with no ulterior motive other than a compassionate heart. I realized the hard way, that my family isn’t the compassionate, loving creatures that God created. If they read this, they would become so defensive as to cover their BUTTS, and would, in their nature, make me feel ashamed, discouraged and belittled AGAIN!

I want to thank MY TRUE FRIENDS, who actually only know me through a screen, who gets me for all that I am., they love and care, they’re real people who lift me up.

And to the only family that I have, Steven, Adam and the rest of Steven’s family. They’re REAL people!


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Conflict in Writing

Numbers 31: 53 (For the men of war had taken spoil, every man for himself.)

Now we’re dipping into the good stuff, not that f2k isn’t wrought with good stuff but this week we’re going to learn how conflict added to a story can carry many chapters into a great novel.

Conflict isn’t about writing a scene where two people argue, or buildings blow up, people getting hit by a train, or other death defying fetes, conflict in a story can be as simple as Margo deciding what color dress to wear or which date is the better choice; the long ago high-school crush or the recent guy she met at the library.

All of this lends to the conflict in your story. On a broader level conflict can be a simple choice of whether the doctor gave the right diagnosis, whether the character wants to live or die, or maybe even he/she wants to become a monk and live a life of isolation. Inner conflict is as exciting in a story as are the knock down drag out fights.

Without conflict in a story, we would have pretty boring novels. Just think, had Frodo never found the ring. Would Lord of the Rings been as appetizing as it was? How about Harry Potter? Had he never had those disagreeing adults wanting to run his life, would the door have been open for the people at Hogwarts to come riding in (literally) to save little Harry?

We need conflict in our writing, even in our blog writing. We need to expel all the conflict in our lives or teachings to know whether we are on the right path or not. I can’t say that teaching writing techniques has bunches of conflict in here, enough to make you come back over and over again. But my poetry has enough inner conflict to keep you reading and wondering what the next poem will bring.

And sure enough there is always enough conflict in my blog because it makes you wonder if you’re writing right, you think about the craft, you dive into the conflicting feelings you have about writing and spit them onto the page in hopes you have something worth reading.

So, all in all, conflict is what makes the world go round. Conflict is what’s going to make your story go from wimpy love story to an all out triangle of people’s loves and thoughts.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, can you think of any conflicting feelings you have about the day of supposed LOVE? Why not write about it and see where there might be a story hidden in there for you to give to your reader.

Don’t beat me up for this post, drink from the pool of conflict and get some good writing done!

*** Congratulations to me, I made it to my 400th post! Way to go Joni!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Are You a Writer?

Acts 14:15 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:

Are you a writer or a teller of stories? There is a difference you know.

A teller of stories is one that can evoke visual images just by verbally communicating words or writing them down before the thought gets away. But that’s just it, its a story written down.

Now a writer, that’s a whole other ball game. Anyone basically can tell a story, but a writer? Now he/she needs to tell a story, revise it twenty times, edit it, grammarize it, (as opposed to glamorize), and then the writer needs to sell it or put it in storage. A writer publishes whether it is in blog form or not, on the net or magazines, works for pennies, writes for months, possibly years and has not one dollar bill hanging on the wall declaring, “My first dollar made writing!”

If this is you, then you are a writer!

I notice a lot of new young writers think that writing is all about telling a story. Not SHOWING you a story visually. A writer evokes feelings in the reader that sometimes he never knew was there to begin with. The young writer also thinks that grammar and punctuation are for the editor’s desk and that they don’t really have to worry about things like that, they’re writers after all.

Allow me to tell you this, writing is not separate from grammar. It all fuses together to form a complete work and sending out a sloppy, grammatically challenged piece of work is like sending you to the electric chair, and the outcome isn’t going to be pretty. Ever see The Green Mile? Nope, not pretty at all.

A writer does his/her homework! Okay, I can understand my visually hindered blog friends, a screen reader can not tell you that their is not there. You are an exception to the rule. There is no excuse for the people who can see the error but don’t fix it or doesn’t educate themselves to see if they have it right to begin with.

Writers need to be educated before you post your work! If you are in the English speaking country, then by all means, learn the English language. If you are in a foreign country, learn your language, the correct grammar and how to submit a worthwhile piece of art. Don’t let a comma or misspelled word get you tossed in the trash. Do your homework and then click POST, or SUBMIT. It will truly make the difference between the word PUBLISHED and REJECTED.

Monday, February 01, 2010

I sense a good week...

Pss. 3:3 But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.

Well the senses lesson went off without a hitch. I wasn’t let down as writers across the board dabbled in bringing the senses alive.

They made clouds out of marshmallows, the sea became a frothing cup of espresso, a river was birthed, a tree swayed, a path was made and I was led down a writing frenzy. These are supposed to be amateur writers but I was quite impressed with the remaining writers at f2k.

Most of the new folk who had a dream of writing, realized all too soon that they had to actually work at it and writing wasn’t something that they could just do. Their introductions led me to believe that their heart and soul wasn’t into writing and I can usually tell if this is really what a writer wants, but we lost a few.

The few who were lost came and went like a brief spring shower. They’re out there wanting to become a writer but they are not willing to take the long hard grueling steps to becoming a writer.

Now we have a few hanger’s on. These are the ones who are wholeheartedly doing all they can to become a writer in every sense of the word. They’re studying the craft intently, they’re practicing sentence structure, they’re even flirting with new words.

These are the people who have an innate sense of what it takes to be the artist that they want to be. Artist are not just thrown into the world knowing all they can about the craft. They learn on every level, grab hold of the intimate aspect and feed off the style to bring you, the reader, into a realm that they call their own.

Have you ever wondered what Picasso was thinking when he painted his masterpieces? What Stephen King is thinking as he jots down his stories? (Oh dear, I put Stephen King next to the same sentence as Picasso! You won’t see that too often.) Well I’m here to tell you that they weren’t thinking anything. They worked to create and delivered to us some of the worlds greatest masterpieces.

The two artist are a lot alike believe it or not. They love (or loved in Picasso’s case) what they do and shower the public with pieces of themselves through their work. (No pun intended Picasso.)

So why not as a new writer, dig deep into yourself and pull out the artist that you know yourself to be. The person that longs to give society what they’re missing. Give it to them!

And whatever you do...write write write!