mood

White Noise – Redux


I posted this on my blog in November of 2014.  Considering all that I’m seeing, watching and hearing, I thought it might be worthwhile to dredge it up and post again.  I’ve become sort of…what’s the word, disenchanted? Dismayed? Disillusioned? 

Assume what you will after reading.  You won’t hear a peep about it from me.  🙂

ORIGINAL POST, 2016 updates in italics:

On this blog,when it comes to certain topics, this is what you’ll get:

WHITE NOISE

WHITE NOISE

When I started http://www.donnaeverhart.com back in early 2011, my intention was to focus on what was happening with my writing, with occasional family stuff thrown in, a book review here and there, photographs I’ve taken (strictly amateur), and whatever else I could dredge up I thought interesting.  I knew there would be certain topics I would steer clear of, and to this day, I’ve held true to that conviction.  (2016 update – yep, still the same!)

Topics I am determined not to post about are my religious, political, or ripped from the headlines viewpoints.  And that’s because everywhere I turn, from the TV, to radio, to Facebook, to other blogs, and who knows where else, that’s what I already get.  What do I have to add to the fray?  Nothing that hasn’t already been said.

Anyone can do what they want with their social media.  I don’t care.  It’s their space, their time, just as this space is mine.  Sure, I’ve waded into debates on other sites here and there a few times.  With the last one, I decided never again.  (2016 update – I’ve forgotten about this. Must’ve been real important.)   To the best of my ability, I’ve chosen to ignore being drawn into what can only become an inflammatory conversation.  The few comments  I did make on other blogs never made me feel better, and I knew I wasn’t going to sway any opinions no matter how many facts I lobbed over the internet fence.  It is/was, in my opinion, time wasted.  Besides, too much can be lost in this sort of online dialogue.  Sometimes the hot button topics are just too sensitive and difficult to parse into words that will go out to be consumed without that personal touch of voice modulation (are they yelling?), gestures, (slamming a hand down?) and eye contact, (or not) and a myriad of other human interactions. 

There are some who are very good at sharing their opinions with the right sense of diplomacy, yet no matter how eloquent they may be, somebody’s gonna get pissed.  Somebody’s gonna disagree.  It’s a no win situation.  Call me chicken.  Call me weak.  Hey, maybe call me…smart?  I have viewpoints on all of it, but, do you honestly care what I think about religion, politics or the latest news event?  I doubt it – especially if my opinion differs.

My other point is, what does any of that have to do with my writing goals and journey?  Not a thing.  In my opinion, it would be a turn off if you came  to read about the usual stuff I’m blathering on about, and got blasted with my personal opinions.  It’s not relevant to this writerly space which I consider almost sacred.

In that regard, here will always be like white noise, because there are already more than enough sideline analysts and commentators out there.

Aren’t you glad? 

Here.  Here’s some cloud pictures to look at.  I do a lot of sky gazing.  Every time I look at clouds, that Joni Mitchell song comes to mind, but this stanza where she replaces “clouds” with “life” seems appropriate.

“I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all.”

~Joni Mitchell~

 

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THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE Final Cover


I thought I couldn’t love my cover any more, and then?  Kensington’s Art Department did a little fine tuning and this is what we now have!

There are reasons behind every decision made by my publisher.  I know why they did this little tweak, but most important is it makes me feel extraordinarily happy for everything they’re doing to support my debut.

What I want to know is…what do you think?

the education of dixie dupree

 

 

Great Expectations


This wasn’t an easy post to write.  I’ve sat on it for days, thinking about it, and wondering if I should write about this topic at all.  It’s likely (probably) premature for me to even think the way I am, but I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, I’m what I call an “advance worrier.”  Meaning, I worry about sh*t in advance, and likely when I shouldn’t.  Can’t.  Help.  It.  Blame Mom.  Hey, I blame her. Dad never got overly concerned about much, while Mom worries about EVERYTHING.  Here’s a snippet of our conversation recently:

Me:  Hey, what’re you doing?

Mom:  Oh, I just got this disclaimer in the mail from Medicare.

Me:  What does it say?

Mom:  That my MRI might not be covered.

Me:  Mom, we talked about this before, that’s just a standard form letter they send out.

Mom:  But they say they might not cover it.

Me:  They will.

Mom:  I don’t know.  I’m going to call them.

Me:  Do whatever you need to do for peace of mind.  So, what else is going on?

Mom:  I think I saw a snake in the yard yesterday.  I better not work outside today.

Me:  That was yesterday, it’s long gone by now.  Go get some fresh air.

Mom:  I don’t know.  The damn thing could be hiding under a bush somewhere.  Waiting.

I think I’m about a 50/50 mix of Mom’s worry and Dad’s non-ruffly nature.  Then I get something like what I’m about to say here in my head, and I even worry about my level of…worry.  Yeah, worry about worrying.  How’s that?  Then I feel that I start to sound like Mom.

Anyway.  Here’s where my head’s at.  There was a slow build up via social media comments and emails which ultimately led to my understanding my debut book is an in-house favorite with my publisher, Kensington.  (heart, be still.)  This is, in the words of a few, a really good thing and hopefully means the book will also do well once it lands in stores.  Like I told my husband, it’s like a gift that keeps on giving.

Meanwhile, for the last several months, I’ve been working on my next project.  It’s a good story – if I can do it justice. (worry!)  Set in 1940, and told from the perspective of the fourteen year old daughter,  Wallis Ann Stamper, it’s about a singing family living in Appalachia who lose their home and all their possessions after a flood.  (the flood is based on historic fact)  Hunger and cold force them to leave, and try to make a living singing.  They eventually join a traveling show, where family bonds are further tested by certain events.

THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE, and this current book, working title THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET, are very different, yet I can’t help but worry about comparisons.  Stuck in my head is the idea DIXIE DUPREE is of a different caliber because I had years to work on it, tweak it, massage it, fluff it.  PERFECT it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the story of BITTERSWEET, but I won’t have the same sort of time to work, tweak, massage, fluff, and so I wonder – is it as good as it can be?  I don’t know.

I’ve still got some time here, and my intentions, of course, are to only send my best work – yet, (again) what if?  What if it’s not perceived in the same way as DIXIE?  No matter the stories being different, it’s about the writing.  Right?  There are expectations here – from myself, my agent, my editor, the publisher.  What if there’s head scratching?  Perplexity?  DISMAY?  Even a bunch of WTF’s?  The thought, “how did she write DIXIE DUPREE, then write…this?  I don’t even know what…this…is.”

You know what?  I hate to disappoint people, that’s what it boils down to.  I don’t like folks receiving something from me with a certain level of expectation, only to serve them up a good dose of disappointment.  What I want is for there to be the same level of enthusiasm, and excitement, and all that other great stuff – which came rather unexpectedly with DIXIE DUPREE – to happen with this story.  All the good things said about my debut have me worrying about the possible expectations with this new work.

Maybe I’m crazy to think this way – you know, before I’m even out of the gate, so to speak.  And thus, I begin worry about my worrying.  If only my worry quotient was a little more swayed, leaning more to Dad’s way versus Mom’s.  More like 80/20.

Pink room?  Softy cushy walls?  Is that what you’re thinking? 

creative-writing

 

 

Finding Pennies


I made no move to mark or signal in any way my father’s one year anniversary of passing.  About three days before the official day, Mom and I went out to the grave site and swapped out the Christmas flowers for a selection of silk flowers I’d picked out, varying shades of off white, sunny yellow and deep blues.  A Spring bouquet.

She worried over the stone.  “Look, Donna, it’s sinking.”

I bent over and strained to see.  Yes.  Maybe that one corner was dipping into the rain sodden ground, ever so slightly.

“We have to call the cemetery office.  We have to tell them to fix it.”

“I’ll call them today, Mom.”

“Here, brush it off.  I don’t want it to be dirty.”

I whisked away a few strands of dead grass.  A bug.  A small bit of dirt.

“There.  That’s much better,” she said.

We didn’t get that quiet time we wanted with Dad.  Right beside his grave two men worked to prepare an “Opening.”  They were polite, and kept about it, but it was hard to stand there and feel any sense of connection to Dad, so, we left.

As is often the case when dealing with loss, those left behind, the ones impacted the most might tend to look for “signs.”  Several weeks after Dad passed, when Mom’s grief had diminished to a more manageable sadness and she once again became more aware of her surroundings, she began finding pennies here and there.  We were at a Minute Clinic at a CVS store for her to get a pneumonia shot, and while sitting in one of the little waiting chairs just outside the clinic, right in front of her feet – a penny.

“Oh!  Look, Donna.  A penny!  That’s your father signaling me.”

She bent over, picked it up as I said, “What?”

“Haven’t you heard about pennies from heaven?” she asked.

Vaguely, I think I had…I wasn’t sure.  She said after a loved one has passed, if you find pennies (or other change I guess) in odd places, it was a sign they were with you.

“Hm,” said I, with some skepticism.  It’s possible you could find spare change just about anywhere, if you looked hard enough.

But then, a couple weeks later, we were standing in the backyard discussing what she was going to do about mulching and trimming, and there on the ground at our feet, another penny.  In the grass.  How odd.

And still again, I took her to a store to pick up a few things, and as we waited in line to be checked out, what did we see?  Yep.  Another penny right by her foot.

More recently, my brother and I accompanied her to a minor procedure.  While she and I sat side by side in the waiting room, (my brother paced) there on the carpeted floor?  Sigh.  Yes.  A penny.

She was thrilled.  “I see you, Daddy.”

I have to admit, my hint of skepticism was waning.

And then this happened.

We’ve been dealing with the flu, here in the Everhart household.  I recently washed a blanket I’d taken down from the closet to use one night when the fever spiked and I was certain death from freezing was imminent.  After it was dry, I folded it back up and was putting it back on the closet shelf.

In that closet hangs my Dad’s coat.  The one I’d given him years ago, and the one he wore ALL the time – especially after he became ill and seemed to stay cold.

DSCF1924

After he passed, I told Mom I wanted it – sentimental reasons and all.  I brought it home, washed it, dried it, and hung it up.  It’s been in the closet over a year.  I took it off the hanger, and something made me put it on.  I shoved my hands into the pockets, and stood there a moment, breathing deep, wishing, in a way, that I hadn’t washed it because it only smelled of detergent.

I wiggled my fingers in the left pocket and encountered a flat round object.  I pulled it out and stared at what lay in my hand.  Yes.  A penny.

DSCF1925

Coincidence? 

I don’t know, what do you think?

 

The Process of Publication


I’ve been wrapped up, enamored with, and possibly swooning over “The Process” of publication.

When I worked at Nortel, a Product Pipeline (it might have looked something like this-but there were many variations depending on the project manager) was often used to monitor the progress of products as they went through various stages of production.  Ultimately, each one reached a final production phase which meant they were ready for delivery to a customer.

I’ve pictured the process of publishing a book similar to what used to happen at Nortel.  Of course there is a ton of work I’m not privy to, but I thought I’d share what I do know, and what was required of me as an author.

Much of the time, there are many weeks of quiet which is great since I’m working on the new project.  Every now and then though, I’ll get an email from someone at Kensington.  This is always thrilling because it’s an indicator the book is moving along in their publication pipeline.

So, starting back in April of last year, here’s what’s happened so far:

  1. Answered Author Questionnaire (April)
  2. Received/signed/mailed copies of contract (May)
  3. Author photo (May)
  4. Completed edits – two kinds, red pencil and revisions to story (July/August)
  5. Received “cover copy” or back flap copy, to hyperventilate over (October)
  6. Publicist assigned (October)
  7. Bound manuscript sent out by Kensington to collect “blurbs” or quotes from other Authors (October)
  8. Completed changes/updates for Copy Editor (November)
  9. Received book cover .jpg to ooh and ah over (December)
  10. Blurbs/quotes from authors started coming in and were shared (February)
  11. Publicist recommends early promotional work such as a web site update, claim Goodreads Author page, create Author Facebook page, etc.  (February)
  12. Book became available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and eventually Indiebound and the Kensington site itself.  (February)
  13. Publicist created a Press Release (February)
  14. Page proofs – this is the step I’m at now.  So, this week, the Production Editor at Kensington contacted me to let me know I would be receiving “page proofs” for DIXIE DUPREE.  They will arrive today.  Page proofs are a Big Deal, as they are the final step, as I said over on my Author Facebook page (www.facebook.com/donnadaviseverhart ) where I – or the proofreader- can make any last minute corrections to spellings, or fix errors.  These changes need to be fairly limited.  One point of emphasis was to “try to avoid adding or deleting word(s) that will change the number of lines in a paragraph.”  This is because the book has already been typeset by a printer, and a change like that would be costly, and the publisher reserves the right to decide in the end.  (March)
  15. Advanced Reader Copies (ARC’s) will be printed, and sent out for reviews to national reviewers of all sorts.  Think Netgalley, Goodreads, etc. (Spring/Summer?)
  16. The First Edition printing takes place, which includes any/all reviews received via the ARC’s as well as earlier Author reviews. (late Summer/early Fall?)
  17. The book now exists and is sent out via distribution channels to stores – and a box is sent to me! Pre-orders can be shipped October 25!
  18. Enter the sandwich board promotional efforts by author! Official release/launch November 1, 2016

I have found every part of this fascinating and of course, that has everything to do with the fact it’s my book, but I thought you might like to have a peek behind the scenes.

Right now, it’s a bit like the lull before a storm because I know once I start promotional efforts, it will be all consuming.  I’ve received some “insider” advice on what to do to begin early promotion of the book, so, I plan to spend the Spring and Summer visiting local bookstores to introduce myself, among other things.

Bottom line?  I can’t wait to see DIXIE DUPREE “out and about!”  

Kensington-logoCover DIXIE DUPREE

Newsletter or Blog


You might have noticed I keep monkeying around with things “out here.”  Chalk it up to preparation.  Again, I go back to my need to be organized and have certain requirements for the new part of this writing gig called Promotion in place.

The latest and greatest?  WordPress helped me again this morning to change the pre-order hyperlinks to actual store icons and they are now located in a more visible spot in the Sidebar.  Yay!  (Here’s a heads up.  With the Kensington button, the book is not yet up on their site.)

As I mentioned before, I prefer to be ahead of the game and not scrambling around at the last minute.  With that, I’m also up in the air about keeping the Blog, or going to a Newsletter format.  I’ve talked about that here, and in other “places.”  You might notice the tab that was called Blog now says Newsletter – as if I’ve made up my mind.  I changed it so it will simply allow me to convert to doing the Newsletter – maybe once a month (or more as needed), if I choose to go that way.

I’ve also added back in my Twitter feed (recommendation by publicist) and a way for you to follow me.  That was a head slap moment.  And…I’m actually sort of curious about that feature.  WordPress seems pretty straightfoward, i.e., has a way for folks to follow if they aren’t on WordPress via email – so I hope it works!  If someone out there reads this and doesn’t know what WordPress is, then you are my perfect guinea pig!  Sign up to follow/receive the “Newsletter” currently looking like a Blog.  🙂

At this point though, this “Newsletter tab” is still all about me ying-yanging about whatever I like out “here.”  I will have comments open as always.  (CRAIG)

Also, if you could, hop on over to Facebook and “Like” my (also new!) Author page, I would be very grateful!  To find me, go here: http://www.facebook.com/donnadaviseverhart.  I’ll be on the lookout for the LOVE there too!

I’m always looking for your input, so if you have suggestions, want to weigh in on any of this, or simply have something to say in general, I’m here – with the little red eff!

DSCF1351

 

 

 

There Is Nothing There


Summer evening, late. The road traveled lies within city limits, moonlight over a pastured landscape, blackened shadows of barns line a ridge while cattle bed down within a barbed wire fence.  Along the road moves a car, sporty red, fairly new, the driver, a young woman.  She’s tired, her fatigue earned by a previous late night and then an all day job, followed by another late night.

She drives with windows down, a sultry breeze skims in and out, occasionally scented with mowed grass and wild lavender.  A pop station plays a top forty list, barely audible.  The road is as familiar as the rest of her routines.  It is the route home.

Her mind wanders over the day, and the evening.  She’s just left the home of a friend.  She should have been in bed hours before.  An internal thought floats, I’m too tired to be out driving, followed by a vague movement in her peripheral vision.  She automatically turns her head to see-only it’s not possible anything could be there, just outside a car going forty-five m.p.h.  She’s right.

There is nothing there.

Another thought blooms, I’m so tired I’m seeing things.  Seconds later, a row of mailboxes snagged by the car’s high beams also captures the surprising view of an old man.  He is bent over, as if to pick up something on the ground, while glancing back at her over his shoulder.  She swerves to avoid him, and looks at her rear view mirror.

There is nothing there.

Inexplicably, she is filled with a sense of dread.  As she passes an old abandoned house, she senses something, a presence, a nightmare quality awareness entering the car.  The passenger seat, she feels she shouldn’t look there.  She can’t explain why.  Heart rate elevates, hands get sticky on the wheel as she tells herself, act normal.  Act like nothing is wrong.  Turn up the radio.  Sing, if you can.  At the old grist mill, even if the light is red, go through it, DON’T STOP.  You can’t stop.

She can’t explain why she’s having these thoughts, yet, her hand goes to the radio and music fills the car.  She hums because she can’t form words.  She thinks of the word evilUninvited evil.  The stop light is at the bottom of a long hill.  It’s RED.  She swallows and her heart bumps erratically.  Foot on the gas, her driving is somehow steady.  She keeps humming.  The grist mill is to her right. The old wheel is turning, and frothy water spills in a cascade.  She hasn’t slowed down.  The light is still red.

Twenty feet from the light.  She is going too fast.  She plans to run it.

It flips to green.

Ascending the hill beyond the light, she is suddenly at peace.  The past minute or so dissolves into night air.  There is no explanation for what she just experienced, only relief she no longer feels that strange sense of foreboding.

If I wrote horror stories, I’d use this material in some way, as a beginning for someone’s world falling apart, where they can’t tell what’s real, what’s not, are they crazy, or are they really experiencing events which get more bizarre and scary.  But I don’t write horror, and in some ways I’m glad, I almost scared myself writing this.  🙂

And here’s the thing,  this is a true story.  This happened to me about twenty-five years ago, and I’ve never forgotten it.  So why make a blog post about it now?  Because…about a month ago, I watched Abigail for the day.  I took her to my Mom’s for a visit, and the drive to take Abigail back home took me down this road for the first time in many years.  I thought about it for the first time in a long while.  My question has always been, what the heck happened?  What WAS that?

What do you think it was?

Dark Hwy

 

 

 

The Anatomy Of A Book


I’ve always loved books, but one in my hands today is not treated the same way as it was years ago.  When I used to start reading, I would sometimes peruse the dedication page, but most often I would jump right into the story.

Not now.  Now actually meaning anytime since about 2009.   When I pick up a novel these days, I virtually dissect it.  Like that stinky little frog, or God forbid, that ginormous EARTHWORM thingy we used to have to cut into and take apart bit by bit in biology class.  That’s how I go through a book, dissecting it bit by bit.

By dissect, I mean I read/look at everything.  When I’m enamored with an author, as I am with too many to count, it’s not just about being entertained that interests me.  It’s about the skin, spine, bones, heart, lungs, eyes (vision) and brains of a book.  (yes, this post will be filled with terms using various organs I decided on; cheesy but effective, don’t you think?)

When I pick up a book now, I study the cover (skin).  This used to be the very first thing that drew me in.  With a quick first glance over the shelves, I could immediately pick out one I thought I’d like.  Since deciding to write and pursue publication, I’ve dreamed about a cover for my own book.  Today when I look at covers, I still have a penchant for a certain vibe they carry, while knowing I like many different types.

Here are a few of my favorites:

With BASTARD, the picture of the young girl and the figure of a woman nearby, hand on her hip, plus the model of the car tells you this will be a story about conflict set in a time some decades ago.  COAL RIVER and ONE FOOT IN EDEN are covers I love, portraying darkish settings which, (IMO) tells you there’s trouble ahead.  The covers evoke a sense of heaviness/darkness, serious stories about serious topics.  With CEECEE HONEYCUTT, the book was pitched as STEEL MAGNOLIAS meets THE HELP.  The hummingbird and flowers just below the scrolled volute (?) makes you envision people with sweet Southern charm who get their happy ending.

I’ve become pretty consistent about flipping the book to look at it’s spine.  This is just to see who published it, and since I started doing that years ago, I’m now familiar with many of the imprint logos.

With the cover also comes flap copy or “bones.”  By reading that, I understand the story’s structure and what it’s about.  It will tell me (in some cases) if the author used first person, third, is it from multiple narrators or one.

Next, I take a look at the heart, which to me is the dedication and the acknowledgements pages.  I call this the heart because this is where authors will likely let you have a peek at their emotions.  I like to see who the books are dedicated to because it also tells me a little bit about the author’s relationships, are they married, with or without kids?  Dogs?  Cats?  The acknowledgements gives me an idea of a book’s journey.  Who did the author know?  Who helped them?  How long did it take?  Not all of these answers are given, but after reading many, many acknowledgements and dedication pages, I usually think I know a little something more about how a particular book came to be.

Next comes the lungs, that breath deep inside, that in and out movement which pinks up our skin, makes us gasp, or laugh, or literally stop breathing during a particularly tense scene, as in…the story itself.  Self-explanatory, no?

Then, there is the vision for the book.  How does the publisher see the marketing of it?  There might be blurbs by other authors of the same genre, for one.  Sometimes these are so abundant, they fill some of the inside pages at the front along with one or two on the front cover, and the entire back cover may have them.  There are reviews to go after, and sales people who contact distribution channels to place the books in stores.

Last, but not least, the brain.  This is where you are encouraged to think about the story with Reading Guides, particularly if a difficult social issue is written into the story.  Occasionally there will be a “Conversation With <insert author name>.”

Strange, but true, I look at all of it.  Even the ISBN #’s, copyright date/s, and print editions.  And disclaimers.

The other day I picked up my next read and I spent time looking at the list of books the author has finished since his debut.  I thought, “I’m doing it again.  Dissecting.”  But it’s fun, and all of it is there for a reason, whether for the reader or the authors themselves.  And I don’t smell like formaldehyde.  That’s a plus.

Do you spend time “dissecting,” books, or am I the only one with this quirky habit?

 

 

 

Out In Public


Recently, fellow writer Carolynn (in some circles we call her 2N’s) Pianta talked in a three part series about special “messages” on her blog.  Granted I’ve had similar “messages” throughout my life, but today I’m here to talk about three separate “events” over the course of this past week which are downright…odd.  Not oooooo, ghostly odd.  Or even freak out odd.  More like distasteful odd?

Because of what it involves, maybe it’s simply ridiculous or just weirdly coincidental.  Actually, if it weren’t for the fact of what it was about, I wouldn’t have even noticed.

This is likely considered in poor taste, but I was never one to dwell for long on things like that.  🙂

FIRST TIME:  In a too close to home incident, I caught someone urinating – out in public. In my head, I was like, ho boy, um, is that necessary?  Yeah, yeah, when you need to go…BUT.  I called up Blaine and said, “So, uh, I just saw someone [insert details].  I’m not sure what to make of it.”

He chuckled and said, “You know, men can do that.”

I said, “Ha ha, very funny.  But then again.  Not really.”

I mean, honestly?  I was all kinds of grossed out because it was, if you get my drift, “too close to home.”  I’m not inclined to want to encounter the remnants of THAT – no matter how much rain falls to distill it, disperse it or whatever.

SECOND TIME:  While out on my run, I entered Greenwood Cemetery to make my usual out and back loop.  I spoke to someone walking, and on my way out, they were ahead of me.  I was about one hundred feet from them when they suddenly veered off to the edge of the woods and what do they do?  Begin to relieve themselves in the doggone creek.  I immediately reversed course, killed some time doing an extra loop, and when I came back out, he was gone.

THIRD TIME:  Today I was on my way to meet a fellow author for lunch and what do I hear on the radio?  Evidently NYC is making public urination and drinking LEGAL.  Why?  Because the court system is overloaded with offenders and it’s clogging up the system for the more serious offenses.  I think that’s what I heard.  I came home and looked it up just to be sure and holy hell, it must be true because I found this, and this, and a whole host of other reads on this urgent gotta go topic.

They (the collective, the group, the other folks?) say three’s a charm.  Or, we all know the saying, it comes in threes.  There’s something about the number three which is, I guess, mystical?  And there, right there were three instances on my radar regarding public urination.  I can see this as being necessary when you’re stuck on the interstate in an ice storm for going on fifteen bazillion hours and no access to toilets.  But even many of those poor people tried to twaddle off to the woods to take care of business.

I am perplexed, make that STUMPED as to what the message is I’m supposed to get from this?  The strangeness of it, with only a couple days in between each “event,” of course brought it front and center.  However, if there is something there for me to discern, I’ll be darned if I know what it’s supposed to be, but hey, as a writer, I’ll have to figure out if there’s a way I can use this.  Maybe in a flash fiction story down the road.

Now, tell me this isn’t the strangest post you’ve read all day. 

 

 

 

 

Atmospheric


In the last post I talked about including food in stories I write, and at some point during the writing of that post, I actually stopped to run outside to snap some pictures of a sunset.   I’ve got hundreds of pictures of sunsets.  I can’t seem to stop taking them because I see something different in each one.

I don’t have the best camera on earth, and many times when I want to try and really convey just how incredible the setting sun looked at 5:25 p.m., there’s just no way.  I zoom out, focus, zoom in, and if you’ve done this yourself, you know it’s an ever changing view – by the seconds.  What you saw, for instance at that 5:25 p.m. point, is completely different by 5:25:30.  You better figure out the composition quick because it’ll be gone (snap!) just like that.

Sunrises, sunsets, the moon, a particular view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the cotton fields around here in the town I live in, a freshly turned field, a pasture, all of it captures my eye, and when it does, I like to figure out a different way to write about what I’ve seen.

The other day I was outside waiting on Little Dog to do his business, and I was… well, looking up.  It was sunset again, and I saw traces of a few wispy clouds through some tree branches.  I thought, “…like pink ribbons laced through the tree branches.”  Yep, you bet I used that phrase in the current WIP.  When/if something comes along like that, hey, I’ll take it until I think of something better.

It really takes practice to figure out fresh ways to write descriptions of what my characters see around them.  Sometimes this is the hardest part of writing for me.  I will eventually get something down I’m happy with, but it typically takes several passes.  There are times I just have to walk away and think about what is it I want to say.  What I’m striving for is enabling a reader to see a scene in their head – just like looking at a picture.  I want it to be richly atmospheric, loaded with images filled with color.

Here’s what I caught the other day:

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I’m somewhat limited by where I live, i.e. this was taken off my back porch facing where the sun sets each day.  There are power lines, TREES I can’t avoid, and rooftops I try to eliminate.  Despite the obstacles, the pictures still show how colorful this sunset was, so intense I almost forgot I was holding the camera in my hand.

What I like to do after I’ve caught a moment in a photo is study what I have, and like I mentioned above, figure out a fresh way to describe it, as if the character is looking at the same thing I saw.  Even if I can’t get a picture exactly right with a camera, I have to get it right in my story scene.

When I think about it, writing is a lot like trying to get that elusive perfect shot.

 

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