Pen

C’mon pen,

jot one thought down

one thought will do

one nugget found. Continue reading

Advertisements

Absence of conflict: good in life, bad in movies

I once read a book that had no tense conflict in it.  Every page I turned I was waiting for the ball to drop and when it didn’t I thought it was a rather boring book.  That’s when I realized conflict is a necessary component in any story.  There needs to be tension for the characters to get through.  But what kind of conflict makes for good reading? Continue reading

Every word written

I write every day  for at least 20 minutes.  Or, at least, I set aside 20 minutes a day to write.  Sometimes there’s a tad more day dreaming or Facebooking than actual writing.  At any rate, I fill up little notebooks fairly quickly at that rate.  I usually go through those notebooks to fill up this blog.  I figure as long as I have thoughts written down in the books I’ll keep up this blog even though I don’t get a lot of views.  Sometimes when I go to the books to fill in my little blog the pickins are a bit slim.  Not every thought is worth sharing. Continue reading

The Ascension

Here are a couple of assumptions for this piece:

  1. Most of us have room for improvement even with our most skilled abilities and talents.
  2. With the exception of a few prodigies most of us better ourselves line upon line, grace by grace. We may show a flair or talent for a particular skill or ability but every person ascends up a particular path with experience.

Continue reading

Writer’s Block

(This was a writing exercise for one of my creative writing classes)

One hour.  Sixty minutes.  That is how long I am supposed to write for.  One hour doesn’t sound too bad, but sixty minutes?  The clock reads “8:24.”  That means I have to write until “9:24.”  Do I really have anything that interesting to say that it will take me a whole hour?  Doubtful.  I mean, I live with my thoughts everyday, twenty-four hours a day.  I do have enough thoughts to fill up a day, are any worth remembering?  Hmm…

Adjust my chair, scoot closer to the computer screen since I already took off my glasses and I’ve had to erase and rewrite several words already.  But now my chair is too far over so I have to scoot it over again.  I think it’s back to where it originally started from now.

My wrists are already starting to hurt.  There’s no way I could possibly type another hour.  I already sat in front of a computer for eight hours today at work.

Blink, blink, blink.  That darn over anxious cursor is just too eager to work.  Sometimes I can’t think that fast.  Blink, blink, blink.  I think the cursor is actually taunting me.  I’m being taunted by a cursor.  How am I expected to work under such conditions?  Blink, blink, blink.

Let’s see, I’m not even to half a page yet, am I?   Unless of course, I went to double spaces.  Then I might be closing in on a page.  But who cares?  Nobody will read this unless I happen to write a million dollar book tomorrow, and then die the day after.  Even this would be worth something then.  I doubt it.

How can I tell if what I’m writing is actually entertaining?  I may be having a hard time writing something because I’m cracking myself up (this would not be an example of that), but the person who reads it might have a hard time reading it because that person keeps falling asleep.  What is the essence of good?  I think timing has everything to do with it.  Something that people love to read now, may not have been popular years ago or even years from now.

How was that for BS-ing my way to nearly half a page?  Have I written anything of importance?  Um, no.

Oh, I’m sliding down in the chair, have to adjust my seating arrangement again.  I decided to save this.  I must think it’s cuter than I’m letting on.  Of course I do.  The only difference between writers and other people is the fact that writers think that their thoughts are so important and grand, everyone else would want to know them.  “Oh, look at me, I’m a writer, I have these great thoughts.”  I’ve known some wise people in my life, and many nuggets of wisdom have come from many different sources.  Even the most ignorant person can occasionally spout off a deep thought or two.  But the writers are the ones, well, writing things down.  My thoughts are not any more moving or wise than another person’s, I just try to write mine down is all.  Or at least, I’m learning to take the time to do so.

I used to do it on a much more regular basis, but once I discovered I’m not as smart as I think I am, I quit writing.  Now to get back into the habit, and to do it more so than I did before, well, that’s why I’m in the predicament I’m in tonight.

“8:39.”  It’s not even nine o’clock yet.  But I think I’m getting to the end of a page.  Still “8:39.”  I think my clock must be broken.  Finally, “8:40.”  Let’s see, I had to take a pause and figure out how long I’ve been writing for.  Sixteen minutes?!  That’s it!

But I do see the end of the page.  Another minute ticks by.

Oh, now I’m slouching again.  Sit up stratght…straight.  Lean forward a bit, too, so that I can see the monitor better.

Roll my shoulders a couple of time.  Stretch my neck a little bit.  Hmm, there’s got to be a better way to describe stretching my neck.  Let’s see, twisting my head? No, that sounds like I should be in the movie “The Exorcist.”  Bob my head back and forth?  No, now I’m sounding like a dancer.  Shake my head?  Now I sound like, well, like I could be crazy.  I guess stretch my neck will be the best description tonight.

Paye…Page 2!  Woo-hoo.  And it is “8:45.”  Let’s see, more math.  Twenty-four plus fifteen would be…oh, why didn’t I start at “8:25?”  The math would be so much easier. Thirty-nine minutes.  I’ll admit, I used a paper and pen to figure that out.  Thirty-nine minutes.  That’s still over thirty minutes away!

Of course, I do have some stories I could prroo….prr…proofread.  That should count for something.

This room is a very quiet room.  Only the sound of an occasional car passing on the street outside is heard.  Plus, some kind of faint strange sound.  I can’t tell if it’s coming from the tv in the next room, or some kind of animal outside.  It sounds too rhythmic.  Ooh, that word took some time.  I was trying to spell it rythmetic.  Of course, the spell checker went crazy with that.  So, I tried using the computer’s spell checker.  I could not find that word in the spell checker at all (go figure!).  Finally, after trying different variations of it (rythmn, rthm, etc.), I stormed into the other room to consult the dictionary.  “Stupid spell checker,” I mumbled.  “It doesn’t even work right!”  I got a little sidetracked by the words sanguine and sanguineous.  I’ll have to try to use those more often.  Oddly enough, the dictionary also didn’t have rythmn.  Hmm.  I went back to the computer’s thesaurus and typed in “Melody.”  That wasn’t a big help.  I typed in “Beat.”  Oops, my mistake.  That pesky “h,” I forget it all the time.  And keep trying to had an “n.”

Another save.  I pity the poor person who embarks on this article.  “9:02.”  Yes, easy math.  Twenty-two minutes..  Twenty-three now.  That whole dictionary excursion took some time.  All for one word.

Oh, I’m slouching again and have to sit up straight.  Lean forward so that I can see the computer screen.  Shake out my wrists.  Blink, blink, blink.  My mom is talking on the phone in the other room now.  If …I… type… slower, I… can… eavesdrop… easier.  Nothing excitng…exciting for me thought…though.

“9:06,” the math is harder again.  Eighteen minutes left.  What exciting bit of information can I share in eighteen minutes?  Stretch out my back again.  Sit up straight again.  Stretch my arms out a little bit.  Now my neck.  Blink, blink, blink.  The cursor seems to be sanguine.  “C’mon,” it blinks, “let… me… say… some… thing… im… por…tant… for… you.   I’m… read… y… to… work… for… you.  I’m…wait…ing…for…you.  What…are…you?  Stu…pid?  Let…me… work… for… you!  Put…me…to…work.  I…want…to…work…for…you.  I… know… you’ll… think… of… something… great.  What… is… writ…er’s… block?”

Save again.  Let’s be honest, I really do think I’m quite clever.  “9:12.”  Easy math again.  Twelve minutes.  How effective was tonight?  Well, in twelve minutes I will have written for a whole hour.  So what?!  Who will sit through this jibberish?!

I learned rhythm is spelled with an “h” and no “n.”  Though, I’ve learne…learned that before and a lot of good it did me.  I relearned the definition of sanguine and made a goal to use ilt… it more.

“9:14!”  Ten minutes left.  Stretch out the arms again.  Sit up again.  Lean forward again.

Almost to the bottom of page 2.  Two whl… whole pages and then a little dribble on a third.  This has been fifty-one minutes of my life.  That’s a bit scary.  These are the thoughts that I thought another person would enjoy?  That another person would appreciate?

I think I might be a bit pompous.

Page three.  Time is flying by now, seven minutes remaining.  Mom is talking to her friend on the phone and her laughter rings through the walls.  Doesn’t she know I’m trying to write?  I’m trying to be creative here, I need absolute stillness.

Blink, blink, blink.  That cursor is starting to annoy me.  Six minutes.  Stretch my back and yawn a great big yawn.  Now my eyes are watering just a bit.  Five minutes.  I looked back at the window.  It’s dark now.  The faint sounds from the tv in the bedroom next to me can still be heard.  Four minutes.  But the unnerving sound that started the whole “rhythmic” search is gone.  Whatever it was.  Sit up again.  Three minutes.  Isn’t that close enough really?  I’ve come this far, I’m going to finish it now.  Um, but how?  Blink, blink, blink.  Writer’s block is a cursed thing.  Two minutes.  Fifty-eight minutes I’ve spent clicking and clacking away at this keyboard.  Two and a quarter page – single spaced.  I could have written something exciting.  A possible lead on an epic story.  Instead, I’ve written this.  My mind freezes up and goes blank.  I read over the pst… past few minutes.  “9:24!”  My time is done.  This is how I spent the past hour.  Couldn’t I think of something better to do?!

Save.

Originally posted May 11, 2012

31 Dates in 31 Days excerpt

Years ago, I wrote a book.  It’s not all that great but it does have a beginning and an end.  It’s about a girl named Grace who takes a challenge from a guy named Matt that she can go on 31 dates in 31 days.  It is set in an LDS single’s ward.

A lot of the dialogue is taken from actual experiences in my life.  Including the following discussion on altitude.  Can you guess which character’s voice is mine?  Unfortunately, it is not the heroine’s. 

Here is a chapter from my book.

My body was still very much upset with me when I woke up Sunday morning.  It complained as I was getting ready for church.  It definitely let me know how unhappy it was with me when I sat on the bench in the chapel.  The folding chair in Sunday School and Relief Society didn’t appease it any.

The good news during church was it was my fourth week since Matt and I started the game.  It was old news.  I hardly got any stares or comments.   The news article from last week seemed all but forgotten.  For the first time all month, I felt like a regular member.

My date for the night was Niles Scott, a tall skinny guy who turned red every time he spoke in his monotonous voice.  We were going to another fireside at the bishop’s house.

When we arrived to the bishop’s house, people had already gathered.  The living room was full of people.  There were two empty spots on the love seat next to Lexi, but I kept looking.  “Where do you want to sit?” I asked but as I turned around Niles was gone.  “Okay, table for one,” I mumbled.

“Grace,” I heard my name called.

I scanned the room of people but couldn’t figure out who had called out to me.

“Grace,” I heard again.  The voice seemed to be coming from the couch.  But that would mean it was Lexi calling me.  Surely, my ears were playing tricks on me.

“Grace,” she said again and laughed sweetly.  “Here’s a spot.”

I looked around the room again to see if there were any other options.   There wasn’t.

“I don’t bite,” she said sweetly.

I walked to the couch and sat down.  “Thanks,” was all I could say.

“So,” she started, “I hear you got a boyfriend out of your …” she bit her bottom lip, “game.”

“Well…” I wished I had disappeared with Niles.

“That’s so great!” she continued.  “I’m so happy for you.”

I looked around the room for any other place to sit.

“Matty,” Lexi called out causing me to jump.  “I saved you a spot.”

He smiled and nodded but continued to look around the room.  But she had saved the last possible sitting place.  He walked over and sat on the other side of her.  As soon as he did, she linked arms with him.

“I’m surprised you didn’t bring your boyfriend,” Lexi said to me.

“Mac?” I asked.  “He’s working.”

“Too bad.  It is hard dating someone who chooses to work on Sunday.  What was it you said in your talk a few weeks ago?” she asked Matt.

“Working on Sunday is not good.” Matt mumbled and I had to fight hard not to laugh.

Lexi’s eyes narrowed.  “Anyway, maybe we could double some time.”

Matt coughed loudly and tried unsuccessfully to untangle his arm from hers.   Doogan walked in and was crestfallen when he saw our seating arrangement.

“Doogan!” I said causing Matt and Lexi to jump.  “Why don’t you sit here?”

He shook his head but inched forward.

“No, I’ve got to find my date,” I stood up.  “You might as well.”  He was already to the couch.  I walked to the doorway and looked back.  Doogan looked happy.  Lexi looked annoyed.  And Matt looked uncomfortable, which I felt bad about.

I found the kitchen and also my date.  Niles was talking to the bishop’s wife.

“Hi,” I said.  “I wondered where you disappeared to.”

The bishop’s wife looked at me and then at Niles and smiled.  “I better go see if bishop needs any help.” She said and patted my arm as she went into the other room.

I sat on a stool next to Niles.  We sat in silence for a few moments.

“The weather is supposed to get warmer,” he spoke looking down at the counter.

At first, I wondered if he had seen Mac’s call out to me on the news and was making fun of me.  But after studying him for a few seconds, I could tell this was just his topic of choice.  “Yeah, I heard that.”

“We’re cooler than Salt Lake or Denver,” he continued.

“Yeah, I’ve noticed.  Wyoming is cooler.”  I would have used the word colder.

“It’s because of our altitude,” he said matter-of-factly and almost made eye contact with me.

“Is that right?” I wondered if I could get my spot back on the couch.

“We’re in the mountains, so we’ll always be cooler.”

“So,” I tried making the conversation light, “we should move some place lower?”

“Only if you like it hotter,” he looked at me.  If he didn’t look so sincere, I would have started laughing.

I nodded.  “Do you want to come in for the fireside?”

“I prefer to stay in here.”

I bit my lip trying to decide what proper dating etiquette called for.

“There you are,” Matt said walking into the kitchen.  “We’re about ready to start.”

“Don’t you want to come in?” I asked Niles.

“Bishop wants to get started,” Lexi walked in.

“Go ahead and start, we’ll be in, ” I looked at Niles who kept his head down.  “In a few minutes.”

“You coming?” Doogan popped his head in.

Niles started looking for the exits.  Judging by our quiet ride here, I could tell we were three people past his comfort zone.

“You all should go in,” I felt bad for intruding on Niles’ solitude.

No one moved.  Niles began fidgeting.  I was as uncomfortable as Niles looked.

“Hey everyone,” the bishop said patting Doogan’s back warmly.  “The fireside is in the other room.”

I looked at everyone.  I went into the living room and sat on the floor in front of the tv.  Lexi and Doogan sat on the couch.  Matt stayed by the kitchen doorway and leaned against the wall.  Niles never came in.

Everyone in the room snickered and whispered.  I didn’t get much out of the fireside that night.