Sunday, February 27, 2011

Poetry Sunday ~ The Mist

Job 27:88 He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them.

The Mist 

(c) Joni Zipp

Crossing over the empty field
fingers stretch out like tendrils of vapor.
Prior stalks crept skyward but now
the pasture keeps vigil with the midnight caper.

Creeping, clinging, clawing finding its way;
sauntering, slithering into the life of me
Through the trees soft sworn breeze,
the mindful mist just has to be.

The moisture whispers softly sprinkling
sounds, a hiss, a cool bliss singing;
life is short the fork is swaying
with the earth, all but swinging.

The sun is sneaking silhouette peeking
rays they linger beyond the gist
it is where one day my soul will lay
evaporating as surely will the mist.

All rights reserved: copyright © Joni  Zipp

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Quotation Saturday


You have to find something that you love enough to be able to take risks, jump over the hurdles and break through the brick walls that are always going to be placed in front of you. If you don't have that kind of feeling for what it is you're doing, you'll stop at the first giant hurdle."
-- George Lucas

"Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it."
-- William James

"The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions."
-- Alfred Lord Tennyson

"Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Young people's values are a reflection of significant adult role models."
-- Denis Waitley

"It is better to earn the trust and respect of one child than to gain notoriety and the adulation of the masses."
-- Denis Waitley

"Role modeling is the most basic responsibility of parents. Parents are handing life's scripts to their children, scripts that in all likelihood will be acted out for the rest of the children's lives."
 -- Stephen R. Covey

"Children have never been very good at listening to adults but they have never failed to imitate them."
-- James Baldwyn


"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing that's why we recommend it daily."
-- Zig Ziglar

"The greatest composer does not sit down to work because he is inspired, but becomes inspired because he is working."
-- Ernest Newman

"A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one."
-- Mary Kay Ash

"When a goal matters enough to a person, that person will find a way to accomplish what at first seemed impossible."
-- Nido Qubein

Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.
--Pamela Vaull Starr
The end of wisdom is to dream high enough not to lose the dream in the seeking of it.
--William Faulkner
I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.
--Patrick Henry
Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.
--Lanston Hughes

Friday, February 25, 2011


Revelation 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
Well I have two posts today for a reason. The one below is post number 666 and as much as I know it is just a number, something about it screams out EWWW! to me. So today you are blessed with TWO posts by me, how lucky is THAT?

I’ll finish what I started on that ‘other’ post.

F2k was draining. I have loved and been committed to f2k for some years now, but as the format changed, the guidelines altered, the reading and reading fell upon us, the choosing and deciding, this was all too much for my brain, with reality slapping me upside the head on a weekly basis.

So I decided to take a break. We have a lot of mentors in place for just this reason. We call it burnout when we over do it, and many of the mentors don’t get it because they have lots of time on the computer to dedicate to the course, even though life is slapping them in the face with illnesses, deaths, and hardships, you would never know it. We’re troopers.

We go on and on like energizer bunnies, tossing reality to the side and voluntarily diving into the assistance of the writer. It is what we signed on for and we are a dedicated committed bunch of folks.

I’ve decided to focus on my first love, WVU. I’m going to facilitate some courses and hopefully together with a bunch of other facilitators, we can get the course registration up and maybe even keep the people IN the class for the duration of two weeks. This is much less stress than the weekly demands of the f2k.

You have to remember, this is all volunteer work and I watch each session as mentors struggle with their lives, stay strong and commit to this seven week course. That is almost 2 months. So next round, I need a break. I’m honest enough to admit it and brave enough to stop my own downfall.

The next f2k course is April 6 I believe. That is a four week break? I can not commit fully at that time, with possible Dr. visits, hopefully eye surgery for the beau, the arrival of Spring and my New Year, and life wrapping its arms around me, drinking me in like a morning dew on grass!

Foresight is good to the extent you can know your limitations and act on them. That is what I’m doing, thinking ahead. My presence will still be felt, and I’ll miss the course, but this gal needs time to BREATHE!

Crash and Burn

Luke Luke 7:13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
Yeah that basically sums up the week I’ve had. In the writing world, the f2k class has come to an end and I have to admit, this was one of the busiest sessions that I’ve lived through.

When normally the classes drop to a smidgen of folks hanging on by week six, this session saw all the classes at almost full capacity for the duration. We lost a few due to circumstances: colds, flu, pneumonia and life grabbing hold of them and carrying them away from us. But for the duration, it has been post after post, reading after reading, lesson upon lesson, feedback and more feedback.

I’m drained. I have to admit, this session took it’s toll with all of the drama in my reality grabbing me by the throat and trying to pin me down. But I kept persevering. I think June would have told me, “Keep it up, Joni, You can do it!” Funny how I keep hearing June’s voice in my head. lol That is not a bad thing because she is MY mentor when it comes to getting sidetracked in writing!

This week was no different than the other seven weeks of f2k. Monday as we were driving home, Adam and I spotted a burning house. I didn’t have my phone on me and mom was wondering if it was a barn or a controlled burn. At eight thirty in the evening, I’ve never really witnessed a controlled burning taking place.

We stopped, backed up, almost into the very ditch that tried eating me alive last year, and we approached the house. Easing into the driveway, we saw that the HOME was well on it’s way to burning down. From behind us, a truck raced onto the scene into another driveway and he went around to the back of the house.

Flames lapping up the wall as if to drink every last fiber of the wood’s moisture, crackling embers were flying all around. I couldn’t sit and wait. I jumped out of the car but I couldn’t get around to where the man was, he was on the phone calling 911, I shouted out to him with small flames dancing from the second floor shooting chunks of embers, “Is there anybody in the house?” He was rubbing his forehead with pain written all over his firelit face. No answer.

Tears forming in my eyes. I assessed the house and knew this was not a safe place to be. The entire second floor was being eaten by flames! Not hearing any screams, cries, or whimpers from animals, trembling I got back in the car and we drove home. I stood on my front steps and almost a quarter of a mile away the house was burning. I waited to see flashing lights come to the scene and what seemed like an hour but was about five heartbreaking minutes, the flashing lights appeared.

The next day, to get those haunting images out of my head, I had to go back to the scene to see the devastation. A total loss. The entire upstairs of the house as well as the back wall were gone. I looked through what once was the door I was going to bang on and saw complete emptiness. Chunks of burnt wood layed strewn about, brown water marks running down the front barely standing wall, all windows shattered and the house, now a lost ghost town where once stood a families home.

Drama seems to follow me...what with my dog getting hit by a truck, the month long of nursing her back to health, the joy of seeing my family via a webcam, the hectic f2k, and the house burning down. All a day/week/month in the life of Joni.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Lord helps those...

... who help themselves.

Eph.2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Boy I’ve heard some pretty grand arguments about this one. And yes to me they are arguments because when you try and insist on something to be true and as stated fact, you have now crossed the line into arguing a belief.

Can you imagine dying from cancer and sitting there with only this belief that if you don’t do anything that God isn’t going to help you? Because you know, if you don’t help yourself, God isn’t going to help you either?

Suppose you have terminal cancer, you do everything in mans power to be rid of this disease, and you’ve HELPED YOURSELF to try and get better, and you still die? Are your loved ones, (holding to this same belief) going to blame God? Because after all, He helps those who help themselves.

People go on and on about faith without works, to me, that has nothing to do with, the Lord helps those, if you are a person of faith, innately you help others, it is in your being as a spiritual person aligned with God. If you have faith in God and let everyone else do the works, then are you still a Christian? Does God measure your works?

I can not imagine a God who only helps those who help themselves. If this is true, then my faith is for naught, and I’d much rather be an atheist than believe that the God I have had faith in all my life, isn’t going to help me, unless I help myself. Only God knows what is deemed as works, in His eyes. No man has the power to JUDGE my works or your works.

I know of a homeless man. Brought down by drugs and alcohol wandering the streets for his next fix. He don’t seek help for his addiction and sees no problem with himself, he actually likes who he is. Many around him in his family have TRIED to help, but again, he sees no problem. So without seeking help, he remains on the streets squatting from one shelter to the other. But God, in His all powerful glorious love, has saved this man from DEATH on numerous occasions. God did not look the other way, he did not say, “Well when you begin to HELP YOURSELF that is when I will help you!”

Nope, my God has supplied the man food, given him shelter, led him to warmth, when He could have just let him die with the very first beating. Even after losing a digit due to drug use, even after being diagnosed with Hep C, this man is still alive. And God, is STILL helping him. Now I’m also sure that if this man sought help, God would STILL be there to move him forward. But God is also there when the man does NOTHING.

Let me say with all sincerity, God helps EVERYONE that places HIM in their heart. He does not discriminate, he holds no prejudices and He helps ALL. He isn’t holding out a measuring stick and thinking, “Hmm that just wasn’t enough works. Can’t help him/her/them.” Our faith IS NOT measured by our works. Salvation is not gotten by WORKS. GOD LOVES US ALL!!!!

The Lord helps those. Period!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Poetry Sunday ~ A Double Dose

Pss. 27:14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

I Await!
(c) Joni Zipp

As part of me hangs
in the balance of echoes
falling to the floor in whispers
waiting to be lifted up by
the very presence of you
I await.

As I tumble, the world
collides while etching
out a form chiseled in the
measure of space and time;
the aroma of you lingers
I await.

As I cling to the hope
that one day our fog
will become rays of the sun
I’ll melt in the complexity
of your ubiquity.
I await.

As breathless as the days
linger into silent nights
I long to see the faces
left behind in a whirlwind
of a confused state.
I await!

 Home Again
(c) Joni Zipp
The sun is setting in the sky
dark clouds take over the night.
a day of joy with the sun not shy
where all was spent in the light.

Their faces looked like yesterday
memories running wild
flooding over this mind today
flashing of me as a child.

We’ve changed so much with time
in all aspects of our being
our bodies, spirits, frame of mind
in every way I’m seeing.

The joy leaps out in sunbeams,
the blood runs through my veins.
from eyes my family gleams
As my love for them remains!

All rights reserved: copyright © Joni  Zipp

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Quotation Saturday


"Don't fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have."
-- Louis E. Boone

“When boundaries are present, there is fear - when wholeness and unity is recognized, fear cannot exist."
-- James A. Ray

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way."
--George Herman "Babe" Ruth

"Do the thing you fear, then the death of fear is certain."
-- Brian Tracy


"All that is necessary to break the spell of inertia and frustration is this: Act as if it were impossible to fail. That is the talisman, the formula, the command of right-about-face which turns us from failure towards success."
-- Dorothea Brande

"The sages do not consider that making no mistakes is a blessing. They believe, rather, that the great virtue of man lies in his ability to correct his mistakes and continually make a new man of himself."
-- Wang Yang-Ming

"Failure is only postponed success as long as courage "coaches" ambition. The habit of persistence is the habit of victory."
-- Herbert Kaufman

"When we can begin to take our failures seriously, it means we are ceasing to be afraid of them. It is of immense importance to learn to laugh at ourselves."
-- Katherine Mansfield

You can make more friends in two months by helping other people than you can in two years trying to get others to help you.
-Author unknown

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
Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us all without words?
-Marcell Marceau
If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
-Somerset Maugham

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday

I have some exciting news! I just have to share. Besides how much I love my son who is now  5’10” at fifteen and I wish he’d slow down on the growth spurt. lol

A package came for ME last week. No, not a Valentines present per se but a small little package from my niece. Hmm what could it be? Well I knew what it could be, because unlike so many other people in my life that say they’re going to do something, my niece pretty much comes through when she says she’s going to do something.

A few weeks ago, she asked if I had a web cam. “A web cam? No,” I said.  I never really wanted one and honestly didn’t know what I’d use one for. Well she said she wanted to send me one, we worked out if this ancient computer could handle it, and then she said it would be on its way, by the end of February!

What did she want me to have a web cam for? So I could see her and her mom, (my sis) and my mother and father too!!! Well slap my forehead and give me a V8! Why hadn’t I thought of that? Why didn’t she, before the time got to be six years without seeing their faces!!!

Well this brown  little box held a web cam that came on Friday. I opened it and as with all technological gadgets I just looked at it with no fascination. My son however was ecstatic! He wanted one for Christmas but well, with no money and I thought they were really expensive, I told him we couldn’t get one. Maybe after we get a new computer.

Saturday arrived and Adam wanted it installed like NOW, so he could show his internet friends. (I monitor his activities on the web, so no worries.) We hooked it up, saw some fuzz but it still sent the images across cyberspace and he was seen. Okay, whoopie!

I sent my niece a message thanking her and now the excitement was building. I realized that she was just turning sixteen years old when I left home 8 years ago, and that I had only seen her briefly on my visit back to Baltimore (but she was one of the first people that came to see me at the hotel when I arrived!) Oh the excitement!

It may not be exciting to people outside my family, who really don’t understand the grand scheme of things but to me, to me this is the opportunity of a lifetime! To see their faces to laugh with them and smile, cry and share. This was a moment of going home again without the airfare fees and all the hoopla that surrounds traveling.

Sunday came and as Adam tweaked with the settings, now making the picture crystal clear, I arrived home from Church anxiously awaiting the arrival. A few notes back to one another and then *POOF* they were in front of my face, smiling from behind tears, laughing with streams and trickles running down their cheeks. My eyes have not flooded so much in a long time.

Sure my Valentine serenade from My Sax Man was beautiful, but nothing, and I mean nothing could overpower the love of MY family reunion with my sister and niece! This Saturday is...the *Surprise for mother and dad!* family.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Poetry Sunday ~ A Moment in Time

Deut. 28:2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.
A Moment in Time
Miles of time has swept us away
I long to see them in every way.
To hear them laugh, see their smiles
a bridge is formed to span the miles.

Wrinkles shape faces defining age
time has taken them off the page;
placed them in their own domain
while I sit here, yet always remain.

Much has changed; I’m not the same
no longer play the family game.
But here I sit on the edge of time
a moment of love and truth sublime.

A windowed world will allow us to see
each others faces with joy and glee.
Though hugs won’t ensue, the love will flow
I’ll smile once again, with these people I know!

This is for Sara who, with the help of technology, will allow me to see my family once again. I’ve been away for eight years, only returned home once, about five years ago, and today, via webcam, I get to see Sara, Terri, Mother and Dad! Thank you Sara!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Quotation Saturday


Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
-Scott Adams
All writing is a process of elimination.
-Martha Albrand
It doesn't matter if a student looks as sour as a lemon. You get lemonade by squeezing them.
-Antti Allén
There is no great writing, only great rewriting.
-Justice Brandeis
Short stories are designed to deliver their impact in as few pages as possible. A tremendous amount is left out, and a good short story writer learns to include only the most essential information.
-Orson Scott Card

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
We read five words on the first page of a really good novel and we begin to forget that we are reading printed words on a page; we begin to see images.
-John Gardner
It's better to write about things you feel than about things you know about.
-L P. Hartley
If you do not have an alert and curious interest in character and dramatic situation, if you have no visual imagination and are unable to distinguish between honest emotional reactions and sentimental approaches to life, you will never write a competent short story.
-Edward J. O'Brien

The end of wisdom is to dream high enough not to lose the dream in the seeking of it.
-William Faulkner
I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.
-Patrick Henry
Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.
-Lanston Hughes
You cannot dream yourself into a character: you must hammer and forge yourself into one.
-Henry D. Thoreau

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Favorite Authors

Job 7:14 Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions:

My top five, not in any specific order:

Stephen King - He is one of my faves because of his style. I can’t say he has class but he’s a writer, he doesn’t need class. We writer’s know we need to grab our reader by the...throat, and this is just what Mr. King does. He takes you by the throat, throttles you around a bit, and leaves you gasping for breath right up to the very last word! Favorite book? It would have to be Duma Key, for now.

Dean Koontz - I love his class! This man knows gore, delivers a scene without degrading human beings. I’m hard pressed to find vulgarity in his words and it has to be in the characters nature for it to EVER be seen in his books, and I’ve read many. Favorite Koontz book? Odd Thomas, hands down. And I’ve read tons of Koontz’s books.

Shirley Jackson - Style AND class! Here’s a winning combination. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read The Haunting of Hill House, and her short story Lottery Ticket? Well that drew a lot of negative feedback in its day, although today, people wouldn’t bat an eyelash!

Ray Bradbury - Now this man has style, class AND longevity. Everything he touches turns to sold! He don’t beat around the bush in delivering a story. He does it with an eloquence we all, as writers, aspire to do.

Tolkien - Tolkien has an air of grace. His words flow perpetually through time, and carry the weight of a feather all the while holding you captive by his poetic style. This man treated writing as an art form and delivered to us characters that will forever remain entrenched in our hearts. Lord of the Rings is my favorite all time book!

Now, I’ve left out many outstanding authors like Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, J.D. Salinger’s, Catcher in the Rye, Mark Twain and all of the classic writers from our past that we’ve come to know and love. I’ve also not mentioned J.K Rowling or the James Patterson’s of the world today, who knock on our children’s door and they allow these characters entry, into their hearts and quickly become the favorites of their time.

Yes, anyone can write, but not all people can write a classic, or write on the levels of these authors that will carry their writing through the portal of time. It takes a person dedicated to bringing you an art and delivering to your doorstep the light, love and grace of style that only writers can display for you.

Remember, writers are your blanket on a cold evening, they wrap you in their hearts and souls and carry you to loftier worlds where you can live in the fantasy realm of your dreams. Why not hug a writer today, within a good book that is. :)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Dialogue ~ To say or Not to say

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 UE 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.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Talk-o Tuesday

Rom. 2:19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,
Wow, I haven’t had a talk-o Tuesday in quite some time. Talk-o Tuesday is where I go on and on about audio books and their ascent to being the top listened to way of hearing a good book in a car, on a treadmill or even just sitting with your legs crossed by a roaring fire, in the dark. Audio books is the route to take.

Why do I want to tell you about audiobooks? Because my beau has an awesome site where he does reviews. Now many of you already know, my beau is blind, but this does not hinder his time on this thing we call a computer. Nope, instead he has a screen reader and he plows away at the books like they were sand in his shoes, shakes out a couple of audiobooks in a week and gives an in depth review at Audiobook Heaven, not revealing too much, but you can get a pretty good idea if you’d like to read the book.

And there have been plenty of reviews and publishers requesting reviews! So his day is pretty consumed with listening and writing reviews. And what is also exciting? The man can write! Two years ago when he initially started going blind, to sway him from the pits of depression, I suggested he start a blog. “Just write all those mixed feelings out,” I said, “Free your mind and free your soul, write!” I have a tendency to tell a lot of folks to do the same thing, “Write to heal!”

In the beginning there was Drums in the Deep,(still going strong by the way) the diary of a blind mans quest for life. Then as his days of listening to books grew, he decided to start a blog on Audiobook Reviews. The site went through a bit of constructing and reconstructing in the beginning, but finally he hit a stride, and now taps out 3 reviews a week, in the least!

The pits of depression were all put on hold because a man,  who fought to know the love of God and decided along with God, that writing was the emotional healer that would get him through some of his darkest days, and nights too, if truth be told.

Why not check Audiobook Heaven out and show some support, you won’t be sorry. :)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Poetry Sunday ~ Broken Beauty

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord! Psalm 31:24
Broken Beauty

All rights reserved: copyright © Joni Zipp
Daggers slicing through my heart,
I boldly stand to make a new start.
Cutting deep; vile words that slay
my heart it drips what’s left to display.

I fight to recover all I’ve lost
in the battle of ensuing frost
crippled am I; all pieces scattered
look on at me; my soul is battered.

Weary legs I wobble around
outstretched arms barely found;
the pain is icicles in my veins
wandering through the torn remains.

Wicked people try to corrupt
all this beauty in a moment abrupt
They try to topple the tower of being
plowing through all people I’m seeing.

Though life looks like a milky mist
muddling about I cease and desist.
I won’t play into the evil ones hands
I’m with my Lord in loftier lands.

Try but lose your chance to break;
my souls not there for you to take.
Bound by blazing Glorious rays,
I live for my Father all of my days!

All rights reserved: copyright © Joni Zipp

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Quotation Saturday


"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."
-Mother Teresa

"Really big people are, above everything else, courteous, considerate and generous - not just to some people in some circumstances - but to everyone all the time."
-Thomas J. Watson

"If you have not often felt the joy of doing a kind act, you have neglected much, and most of all yourself."
-A. Neilen

"You have not lived a perfect day, unless you have done something for someone who will never be able to repay you."
-Ruth Smeltzer


"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing that's why we recommend it daily."
- Zig Ziglar

"The greatest composer does not sit down to work because he is inspired, but becomes inspired because he is working."
- Ernest Newman

"A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one."
- Mary Kay Ash

"When a goal matters enough to a person, that person will find a way to accomplish what at first seemed impossible."
- Nido Qubein


The question for each man is not what he would do if he had the means, time, influence and educational advantages, but what he will do with the things he has.
-Frank Hamilton

As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.
-Carl Jung


"The only way to live is to accept each minute as an unrepeatable miracle, which is exactly what it is - a miracle and unrepeatable."
- Margaret Storm Jameson

"The next time it begins to rain... lie down on your belly, nestle your chin into the grass, and get a frog's-eye view of how raindrops fall... The sight of hundreds of blades of grass bowing down and popping back up like piano keys strikes me as one of the merriest sights in the world."
- Malcolm Margolin

"The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness."
- Percival

"Ingenuity, plus courage, plus work, equals miracles."
- Bob Richards

Friday, February 04, 2011

Sprigs and Sprays

John 15: 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
What a week! I’ve blogged, I've wandered, I've kept up the pace of the every day hum drum, all with the help of a sprig and a spray! What in the world is a sprig? A spray?

Allow me to tell you, a sprig is a small branch and a spray is an offshoot of the branch, and after the week I’ve had, had it not been for the extension of the branch, I may have been weakened to the core. The spray of friends who understood me, as a friend and a writer, reached out and consoled me.

As our lesson ‘Conflict’ unraveled, students assumed this was a physical fight scene that needed to be written. Again we go back to say, “Did you read the tips?” Conflict can also be the inner struggle that one endures when faced with a decision in his/her life. It is not a knock down drag out fist fight which conveys a conflict scene, it is the mindset of the character, it is the emotional roller coaster that the said character is on day in and day out.

So with that said, my inner conflict is being helped along by the branches that are extending outward from people who really care. They are far and few in between, but the ones who do extend are enough to fill my heart, and make it grow three sizes too big this week. I’ve had to cut out a few things, restructure a few things and focus on more important things, all for the resolution of the inner conflict raging war inside of me trying its darndest to see to it that I crumble like an unneeded wad of paper.

Friends can be a branch in the war on conflict. They can be the making or breaking of all that you stand for. You are more than likely to have a so-called friend, stab you in the back, slice you open or just go for the jugular or a prettier scenario is they can rip your heart out of your chest and toss it on the floor and stomp around a few times to see how much blood they can drain from you.

But on a more positive note to resolution, real friends, the ones who stick by you through thick and thin, (eliminate family because they’re just there as a back up) will be the ones who extend loving words, kind gestures, a heartfelt love that no other on this Earth can offer. Friends don’t let Friends, drown!

Job 19:14 My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.
Mark 3:21 And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Tinkles and Twigs

He who has imagination without learning, has wings and no feet.
Joseph Joubert
Conflict ~
Conflict can be expressed on many levels. Take yesterdays post of inner conflict. I wrote it so it wouldn’t be on my back pushing me down like an overstuffed garbage bag, but remember, conflict in a story can lift your words to new heights.

We have antagonist and protagonist in reality and in our fictional stories. The job is to know who is who and where they lurk. In life, they can seemingly be your friend, who has turned and gone to the other side of the moral spectrum, and in fiction it can be the butcher, the baker, or the candlestick maker. You are the creator so your antagonist can be whomever you want them to be. (Reality can hold antagonists such as your Butcher, Baker and Candlestick maker, too.)

I love conflict in a story. Have you noticed as you’re reading a book (or listening) and the story is going along smooth, a happy gathering of folk all laughing having a good time, then gunshots ring out in the neighboring apartment. This stirs a story into conflict. The characters all flee the scene and in doing so a person is shot dead! Why didn’t they just stay where they were?

You know why? Because the conflict would have fell flat. Conflict needs to be stirred in ways that the reader is trying to read so fast and get through the pages, they flip and flip until the story concludes and you find you’ve read the entire book in record time!

Without conflict, you have a toddler genre ready to absorb all the good in stories. But even in Children's writing, there NEEDS to be a conflict to get your point across and you can draw the lines from good and bad. Kids need a moral compass and as writers our job is to see to it that through our antagonist and protagonist, they can see the good guy and the bad guy. A child always wants to see the hero win in the end.

Adult novels, while some bathe in smut, most have a genuine love story wrought with conflict.  Like Odd Thomas. Not too many characters touch me like the Odd one and his endearing love for Stormy! No smut a bout it, this love went deep and lasted through four novels, all the while fighting off the demons that Odd had to carry around with himself.

So you see, conflict, whether real or imaginary are the things that make up life, whether fiction or non-fiction; whether internal or external, conflict arises when one wakes up in the morning on a seemingly beautiful day. The bars of sun stream in the window, not a cloud in the baby-blue sky, you open the door and are assaulted with the biting cold, the rush of traffic, the neighbors dog barking and every other conflicting noise, sound, sight, you can imagine.

Make your writing DANCE! Add a little conflict to it!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A 'DO NOT read' post

John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
Just when you think someone cares...

Have you ever been writing until your fingers bled, anxiously anticipated sharing only to find that nobody really cares about your writing? Today I’m going to throw myself a pity party with hats, balloons, streamers and noisemakers, yeah especially noisemakers. You’re all invited to come, but no one will show, it’ll just be me, a woman and her thoughts.

I have this quote it goes something like, “Thank your readers and the critics who praise you, and then ignore them. Write for the most intelligent, wittiest, wisest audience in the universe: Write to please yourself. ~Harlan Ellison, and really that is all we’re doing because nobody really cares what you write.

We can pretend, we can read what others write, we can comment out our gazoos, or not, but what it really boils down to is, nobody gives a flying fig. Everyone cares about himself or herself, and everything else is just there, a fly on the wall being looked at ready to swat it out of the way first chance you get.

I feel my writing has been put on hold while I take care of everyone else. I throw myself into situations of aiding and forget that sometimes I am the one who needs the assistance. Does anybody care? Does anyone know that this is what’s happening to me? No, of course not because they are busy obsessing and consuming themselves with themselves. Selfishly devouring all that they can muster while a withered leaf gets tossed under the snow mound. They are a sort of self mutilating cannibal, eating and drinking of whatever it is that THEY have to

offer/want/need and forget about the lil guy or in this case, gal.

Today is the day (okay I tell myself this all the time) that I am going to put a halt to my placating of others and tend to my own needs. I’m going to be a self mutilating cannibal and consume myself, with myself, remembering those that forgot me and forgetting those that pretended to remember me.

Sometimes it scares me to be a writer.

“From the earliest records of ancient civilizations to the most recent works produced by modernity, the history of literature bears witness to the creative power of the human mind. We have before us a vast library of stories, plays, and poetry to enjoy at our leisure, but in some cases this creativity came with a price – the life of the creator.” Ketterer Brandt

From Hemmingway to Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf  to John Kennedy Toole all authors who decided maybe writing just wasn’t in the cards for them. The list is long, the lives are many, writers write because they love to write, they die, because maybe they were faced with cannibals too.
From Lord of the Rings ~ J.R.R. Tolkien’s work

Sam: Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It'll be spring soon and the orchards will be in blossom, and the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And the whistle in the summer barley in the Lower fields. And eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?

Frodo: No, Sam. I can't recall the taste of food, nor the sound of water, nor the touch of grass. I'm naked in the dark. There's nothing--no veil between me and the wheel of fire. I can see him with my waking eyes.