Sunday, April 29, 2007

Quips from other Writers - Enjoy!

I am here to advise you that I have survived a laptop virus, idiotic computer techs and the overall helpless feeling one has when their computer is unavailable to them.

So, I thought instead of bitching about my computer problems of last week, I would instead offer some ditties from other writers about the art of writing. Enjoy!

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.
~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
~Ray Bradbury

So often is the virgin sheet of paper more real than what one has to say, and so often one regrets having marred it.
~Harold Acton, Memoirs of an Aesthete, 1948

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.
~Anaïs Nin

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.
~E.L. Doctorow

A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.
~Charles Peguy

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
~Sylvia Plath

I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.
~Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977

I try to leave out the parts that people skip.
~Elmore Leonard

If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison

What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers.
~Logan Pearsall Smith, "All Trivia," Afterthoughts, 1931

The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.
~Norbet Platt

It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.
~Vita Sackville-

WestWriting became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say.
~Sharon O'Brien

Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very;" your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
~Mark Twain

I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter.
~James Michener

The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.
~Mark Twain

The wastebasket is a writer's best friend.
~Isaac Bashevis Singer

Don't be too harsh to these poems until they're typed. I always think typescript lends some sort of certainty: at least, if the things are bad then, they appear to be bad with conviction.
~Dylan Thomas, letter to Vernon Watkins, March 1938

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
~William Wordsworth

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
~Mark Twain

I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.
~James Michener

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the inner music the words make. ~Truman Capote, McCall's, November 1967

It seems to me that those songs that have been any good, I have nothing much to do with the writing of them. The words have just crawled down my sleeve and come out on the page.
~Joan Baez

Friday, April 20, 2007

Have you Noticed?

that writers are making the news?

Remember when a young teenager suffering with ADD/ADHD lost his way from his group on a camping trip? They were camping in the mountains where the evenings and nights got pretty cold. Well, the teenager remembered a book he had read recently where the fictional character also lost his way in the woods and followed the same survival techniques as the book's character. Amazingly, the teenager was found a few days cold and hungry, but very much alive.

Then unfortunately, the mentally ill killer from VA Tech was plastered all over the news as his former professors revealed that he took creative writing classes. His writing was so violent and angry that his teachers had geniune concerns for not only their safety, but his own. Sadly, we all know the results.

There is power in the written word. I hope one day, we can all write with care and responsibility.

More Musings Later-

Monday, April 16, 2007

Great Writing Allows You To See

I've had quite a few people ask me "What does it take to be a great writer?" There are all types of answers depending on the style of writing and so forth.

But for me? Great writing allows you to see. My favorite type of writing and reading for that matter, is storytelling or fictional writing. I've read some books and by some well-known authors (or their prospective ghostwriters I suppose) that were...well...not so memorable. Do you ever find yourself reading a chapter and then suddenly realizing, "What is going on in this chapter? Who is this character again? Why are they acting a certain way?".

When that happens to me, 2 words inevitably come to me. Famous author or not. BAD WRITING.

If I'm reading about a character, I want to know what they look like, what they are thinking, if they have crooked teeth, bad skin, a stutter or any other distintive trait. I want to SEE them in my mind. I want to know this person like the back of my hand.

If this character is so largely forgettable in a book, then why introduce them? My favorite example of this is John Grisham's "The Firm". When I was reading about Mitch (the main character). I instantly got a picture of a clean-cut version of Tom Cruise. And, when I read about his adventures, I could SEE Tom Cruise in my mind's eye.

By the same token, the reason I am such an OPPONENT of Laura Ingalls Wilder's TV version of her wonderful books is mostly because of the "Pa Ingalls" character. When I read her books, I SAW Pa. I knew that his hair was straight, course and thick. He had a matching beard. His hands were calloused as a result of his hard work. He was well-liked in the town and provided for his family. He was not necessarily handsome, but he was like any other homesteader in early American times.

He was NOT the curly headed, handsome, clean shaven actor in the series. And, Laura Ingalls' character wasn't the actress I saw either. I knew that when Hollywood tired of the actual events that happened in the book they would embellish. And, boy did they. The Ingalls adopted a boy so they could have that all-important son, Mary married a blind teacher, Pa never aged but Ma did and so on.

From L - R Standing: Carrie, Laura, Grace
From L - R Seated: Mary, Pa, Ma Ingalls

None of that ever happened in the book. Mary never married, Pa and Ma aged at the same rate, Laura's 2 sisters (Carrie and Grace) died fairly young, and the only boy the Ingalls had was stillborn. Those are the facts.

I know these things because Great Writing Allows You To See.

More Musings Later-

Friday, April 13, 2007

B.B. King, Drumsticks and Coyote Ugly!

Yes kids, I made it through another wild birthday! This one was number 45. And, I had the best time and managed to set downtown Nashville on it's proverbial ear.

We decided to do the "safe and responsible" thing by taking a bus downtown and then cab it back afterwards, cause you KNOW I'm drinking. So, we are sitting shoulder to shoulder on the bus and finally step out when we get to Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. I, of course had to go in, tip the band and request a Roger Miller tune. (My favorite). "Which one?" he asks me....I don't care, "Dang Me, King of the Road, whatever floats your boat!

Then we go to Coyote Ugly - We make our way to the bar where the bartendresses and patrons are dancing on the bar, and I politely bow out (my balance ain't the best...I have P Diddy, you know). But we are enjoying the view from the ground just the same!

Then we toodle down to B.B. King's club and we're having a conversation with the bartender about the opening of the club in Nashville. He tells us, "Yeah, we even have the drumsticks from his drummer when B.B.'s band was playing." He shows us the splintered worn sticks and being a former percussionist, I light up like a Christmas tree. My partner mentions it's my birthday and the bartender takes them out of the case and hands them to me.


I look at the sticks in my hands and feel the old familiar feelings again. They feel good and they feel "right" in my hands. The sticks were pretty banged up and almost broken in two, which tells me the drummer had a great time playing and that the music was hot.

They're sitting on my fireplace mantle, because I sit near there when I write. And, if my laptop was to be compared to the laptop would be smoking and almost broken in half.

Because I am having a great time and the books I'm working on are GREAT.

More Musings Later-

Saturday, April 07, 2007

I No Lady, I Taryn!

Aaahhh, out of the mouth of babes. Actually, I was about 3 years old when I made that declaration. I remember I was at the store with my father when we bumped into a friend of his. He cooed to me, "And who is this little lady?"

Hence, my response.

After all these years, I still chuckle over that statement because it is SO me. Not that I behave less desireable than a lady....I'm just a feminist lady and apparantly, since the age of 3!

It's amazing that we can have a true sense of self at such a young age. That simple statement taught me alot about myself. I've learned that I am individualistic, hard headed, and full of piss and vinegar with a tad of sarcastic humor.

That strength in my statement has carried me down a life journey that has been enthralling, devastating, exciting and difficult. But, it carried me nonetheless.

Happy Birthday Kiddo-

More Musings Later

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A River Runs Through It...

I had forgotten just how much I loved the movie, "A River Runs Through It," until I saw it on a movie channel recently. As I listened to the narration and dialogue, it occurred to me that this film was written with the heart of a poet.
Each word and phrase was carefully crafted to evoke emotions and imagery of a wistful childhood that most of us can relate to.
Especially those of us who have siblings who we feel are more special than we are.
You can only ache for Norman as he wants to help his younger brother, but in the end, realizes he can't force his help.
He sees the same scenario replayed in his girlfriend's family when her problematic older brother is still able to keep the family wrapped around his unlikeable finger.
Somehow, as imperfect as they are, they are perfect to their families.
Throughout the movie, Norman recounts his life in Montana and the one true love that he and his brother and father share: fly fishing in the river. To him, his life evolves while his brother's life stagnates...And A River Runs Through It.
To this day, waters haunt me.
What exceptional writing.
More Musings Later-

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Love this Life- Ode to Crowded House

For those of you that are fans of the band Crowded House, you will recall that tune on one of their CD's entitled "Love this Life". It's one of those songs that you listen to and the more you listen, the more you "get it".

The gist of the meaning is this: There may be "junk" in your life or past (isn't there always?) but regardless...there are blessings in each person's life. Love your life, because it's what YOU created and it's a gift.

Too philosophical? Okay, revised meaning: Get over yourself and appreciate what you have!

Thanks Neil Finn, you're one helluva writer.
More Musings Later-