Sunday, April 13, 2014

Who can blame you?



OK, so here’s why I didn’t write much today. 1) I’m doing laundry for other people in this house. 2) I’m entering grades for my students in the computer so they can see how much work they need to do to pass the class. 3) I’ve been sick because one of my students probably gave me a bad cold, so I’m not feeling creative.  4) I have to go to the library and return my own books because my daughter went to college in another state and can’t run simple errands for me like she used to. 5) My son is too young to drive to the library by himself.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, it’s Blame Somebody Else Day! So, go for it, and blame other people for anything you want. It’s kinda fun! Here’s the website, and you can blame me if you spend too much time looking up funny national days and not doing what you should be doing! http://all-funny.info/real-list-of-national-days

Write soon (but if you don’t, blame somebody else!),

Mary



Sunday, April 6, 2014

It was a dark and stormy night



The official deadline of April 15 is fast approaching for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (you know, the bad writing contest). Each entry must consist of a single sentence of any length, but the website strongly recommends entries not go beyond 60 words. You may enter as many times as you like, and entries must be original and unpublished.

Entries will be judged by categories, from “general” to detective, western, science fiction, romance, and others. There will be overall winners as well as category winners.

The official deadline is April 15. The actual deadline is June 30, so you still have plenty of time. Check out some of the past winners on the website: http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/
 
Write (badly) soon,
Mary

Monday, March 31, 2014

Reason #647 to love the library



I have confessed in earlier posts about my habit of forgetting to renew overdue library books and the fines that result. But that is all behind me now. When I checked out books a few weeks ago, the helpful circulation staff person asked if I wanted to sign up for “Renewal Alerts.”

“What is this strange and wonderful thing of which you speak?” I asked.

She explained that the St. Charles City-County Library District can send an email reminder when my books are due for renewal. It’s one of the greatest services ever offered in the history of mankind. And it’s free. 

Write soon,
Mary

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Blog Chain



I’m honored that Donna Volkenannt  has invited me to be part of a blog chain to discuss my writing process. 

Donna Volkenannt was the first-place winner of the 2012 Erma Bombeck Global Humor Writing Award, and a top-ten finalist in the 2014 Erma Bombeck Global Human Interest award category. I’ve known her for several years, and not only is she a great writer, but a wonderful person who is a caring and supportive friend. She blogs at Donna’s Book Pub.com.

Here are my answers to Donna’s questions:

1. What am I working on?
Several articles that are in various stages of completion, including one on Jory Sherman and his role in the Beat Writers. I’m also putting together a talk for the Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writer’s Guild Conference this fall on getting your message across effectively in non-fiction. I’m always searching for blog content, and grading papers or speeches for my communications classes at St. Charles and St. Louis Community Colleges.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I try to bring a fresh perspective to my nonfiction by keeping the writing simple, clear and with a humorous slant, if possible. 

3. Why do I write what I do?
Everything I write is because I have a passion for it. I’ve written a couple of novels that still need editing, but everything comes from the need to answer a question, regardless of genre.

4. How does your writing process work?
I don’t have a particular process. I write when I can, and edit while I’m writing, and then again when I’m finished. I’m a night owl, but have recently been writing (a little) in the morning. And, I’ve been composing some sentences, thoughts and ideas on my iPhone. It’s always with me, like a notebook, so it’s a convenient way to record those short bursts of creativity that happen at the most unlikely times. 

5. The last step in this process is to invite two other authors to participate in the blog chain.
I hope that my writing friends and blogging buddies, Sheree Nielsen and Pat Wahler, will continue this blog chain. 

Sheree Nielsen is the author of Folly Beach Dances, a soon-to-be-published coffee table book that features the photography of Sheree and her husband, Russell, along with the poetry of many women writers (full disclosure) including me.

Pat Wahler is a grant writer by day and writer of essays and fiction by night. She is published in dozens of national and local venues and is a member of Missouri Writers Guild, Saturday Writers, and Coffee and Critique. Her work also appears in Folly Beach Dances. Her blog is Critter Alley.com. 

Thanks, Donna, for inviting me to participate in the blog chain.

Write soon,
Mary


Monday, March 10, 2014

The Worthless Word for the Day


For all you word nerds out there, I want to share a link to the “worthless word for the day.” I was looking up the definition of macroverbumsciolist, (more on that later) and in my search came across this website. I love it!  
 
Today’s word is dunducketty.

the worthless word for the day is: dunducketty

[fr. dun + duck(?)]
Brit. colloq. or dial., in phr. dunducketty mud-colour
of a dull, drab color

Here’s a link:

Write soon,
Mary

Sunday, March 2, 2014

My tribute to movies about writing (in honor of the Oscars!)


After reading “The Paris Wife,” which I think should be made into a movie, and then watching “The Hours” on Netflix the other day, I began thinking about movies that have writing themes. I never tire of watching “Finding Forrester,” and I liked “Adaptation,” “The Words,” and “The Shining.”

Then I searched online for movies about writing and a few more titles came up that made me question my ability to recall information. There they were, two of my favorites: “Wonder Boys” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” I love both of those movies for completely different reasons, and yet they had slipped my mind. 

So I searched a few more lists, and was reminded of “Barfly,” about Charles Bukowski’s sometimes rough and difficult life, “Misery,” another Stephen King entry, “Bullets Over Broadway” by Woody Allen, and “Miss Potter,” a sweet love story about Beatrix Potter. I think your brain might explode if you watched “Barfly” and “Miss Potter” on the same day.
   
Other movies I wasn’t familiar with included “Quill,” which chronicles the Marquis de Sade’s confinement to a mental institution, and the lengths to which he went in order to write, and “Gothic,” about the circumstances surrounding the creation of Mary Shelley’s "Frankenstein.” 

So excuse me for now, I’m heading over to Netflix to watch a movie or two. How about you? What are your favorite movies about writers or writing? 

Write soon,
Mary 

Here are some links to websites that feature lists of movies about writing: