Friday, May 27, 2011

Still Having Snafus

~~It's a conspiracy. I swear it! Since late Wednesday evening, I've not been able to post comments on certain blogs. Every time I hit post, blogger signs me out and when I sign in again, I'm anonymous. It's getting frustrating. I've updated my browser and adding a new blog post. Hope that helps. Cross your fingers.

ETA: Where did my followers go? You're not shown even though the widget is still in place. I've notices it's missing at other blogs too. Could that be the problem? More to think about.

ETA Saturday May 28: There is a work around for the commenting problem. When you get signed out, be sure to unclick the "keep me signed in" box. For some reason it's working opposite of what is says. I'm now able to comment anywhere. But my followers are still missing.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Your Job for Today--Back-Up that Blog!

~~In the last couple of weeks, we've seen what happens when Blogger has a problem. We lose content and comments. I had no clue that I could back-up my blog (yep, I'm a techno-dunce ; ) until today. Rachael Harrie posted on how to back up your template on her blog, Rach Writes. Be sure to check it out and follow through. She also posted a link to Clarissa Draper blog post on how to save your blog content HERE with the added caution to email the files to yourself for online storage. I've done both this morning.

~~Many of my first posts were the usual, ordinary life with photos, but now that I'm writing about writing more, I'm glad I've got the back-ups. You never know when you'll need the material. So get busy--your assignment today is back-up that blog.

~~And if you already knew how to do this, you may gloat...but what I want to know is why you didn't tell me how to do it! ; )

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What Happened to Your Voice?

~~A writer's voice is that distinctive vocabulary, cadence, and combination that marks one writer from another. We struggle to find our own personal voice at times and the newer we are to writing the harder it is.

~~I think it might be like the woman I saw on the news this week. For weeks, her voice was a strangled whisper. Doctors tried antibiotics, antihistamines, and steroids to not effect. She couldn't shake what had stolen her distinctive words of love for her husband and children. Her giggle was gone. She learned to wake her children with an inarticulate banging on their bedroom doors. Until a specialist examined her. He began a throat massage. Fifteen minutes of stroking the muscles around her voice box awoke the words, the sounds that were distinctly hers. The treatment was so deceptively simple. A sneaky cold virus had settled in her voice box and her muscles had tightened until her voice was cut off.

~~What about us? What strangles our writer voices. Is it an unconscious mimicking of our favorite author? Or the fear that our words are too simplistic and uneducated? What about the worry that our story is dull or that we can't convey what plays out in our heads?

~~I've been told that the only solution is to write. Write often. Write anything. Just write. What do you think? How do you find your voice?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

SNAFUs Are the Norm

~~I'm sure if you use Blogger, you already know about the snafu this week. During maintenance, they had to restore the system in a "read only" state. Blogsites lost both posts and comments. As time goes by, Blogger hopes to restore all the data.

~~All I can say is that I lost no posts only because I hadn't posted any. ; ) A bad head cold and a computer screen do not mix well. I don't know about comments. If you tried to comment on my last post and it got lost, sorry I didn't comment back.

~~If you were wondering about the word SNAFU, it's an acronym from World War II. The other one I've heard is FUBAR. The words they stand for aren't PG rated. ; ) I have a feeling the folks at Blogger said a few such words this week.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Momma Had Words With Me

~~It's Mother's Day here in the States and in Australia. I wanted to post a little essay I wrote last winter. My buddy Carole at Nietzche I'm Not was planning a book titled LESSONS I LEARNED FROM MY MOTHER and asked me to submit. Unfortunately the anthology didn't come to pass, but I do have a great little piece that tells one reason my mother is so special to me. I hope you enjoy it.


I don’t know if it’s true anywhere else, but in the South, to “have words with” someone means to fuss, argue, or reprimand. My momma had another purpose for having words with me, for me, and around me. We didn’t discuss why people read or why it was important. My siblings and I just read. The power, magic, and glory of words surrounded us. No lectures were needed. No punishment was forthcoming to make us read. It was second nature to read. After all, our parents read in front of us every day. Momma focused on fiction while Daddy read the newspaper, biographies, and his professional journals.

So, it was all Momma’s fault that my father-in-law was shocked when my daddy built bookshelves that covered half the walls in our study from the floor to ten-foot ceiling. With wide eyes, he said, “No one has that many books!”

My husband shrugged. “She does. Everyone in her family does.” He knew there would be no wasted space in our study.

It was Momma’s fault that we take delight in words. She gave us no choice in the matter. From the time we were toddlers, we all had library cards and joined the summer reading program at the regional library branch in our home town. Every week, we checked out five books. All the librarians knew us by name.

How do you feed a growing reading habit? Momma knew. She made sure there were books to read that challenged us. She made reading more books fun and expected. When our abilities to read outstripped our ages and we needed bigger, more complex books, Momma checked out adult books for us on her own library card. As the school librarian at my elementary school, she found harder and harder books for me to read when I had read everything at the lower levels. I clearly remember reading Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson in the fifth grade. It was my first adult novel and I’ll never forget holding the large book and being carried away into old California by the words.

In time, my siblings and I found our own preferred genres. When given a list of three hundred books for college-bound students in the 1960’s, we attacked it from different angles. The fact that the complete works of Shakespeare and the great Greek historians were available in our home, made it easy to get started. My sister loves literature. My brother has a taste for biography, science, history, and adventure books. I read history, fiction of all types, and poetry.

As voracious readers, we are the people who keep bookstores—large, small and online—in business. We are the people who always have up-to-date library cards. Our to-be-read lists of new books and old favorites are extensive. None of us is bored as long as there is something to read. And that isn’t likely to happen if we live a thousand years.

It’s Momma’s fault that there is a longstanding family joke about the end of civilization. If an asteroid or other near extinction event occurred, our combined libraries would form the basis for restarting science, math, history, and literature. We could quickly raise man’s knowledge back to its former heights.

The majesty and beauty of the words I grew up with created the desire to shape and form my own stories, to create new adventures, new people to meet, and new places to go. Momma encouraged me. She kept the poetry I wrote as an eight years old. Her simple acceptance made no obstacle insurmountable. Her faith that I could do anything I wanted allowed me to experiment and try different styles. She not only taught me to love words, but the persistence it takes to shape, order, and arrange them in coherent ways. When she gave me the love of words, she gave me the tools to accomplish what I desired to do. She gave me the ability to tell stories that soothe hurts, inspire challenges, and entertain. My mother gave me life—physically, mentally, and emotionally. She gave me dreams and encouraged me to strive to reach for them. My mother gave me words to share and the persistence to achieve the dream of being a writer. She still encourages me to write and inspires me with her own voracious reading.

Thank you, Momma, for having words with me. I love you.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Celebrate the Winners!

~~Sadly, all celebrations must come to an end. Today is the day to reveal the winners of my Celebration Blogfest in honor of my 100th post and 200th follower. I'm thrilled to say that worked its magic. The winners are:
First Place
L. of Notes from the Jovian Frontier

Second Place
J. L. Campbell of The Character Depot

Third Place
S. P. Bowers of S. P. Bowers

L. let me know which book is you choice--Stephen King's On Writing, Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, Steven Pressfield's The War of Art, or signed copies of my An Easter Walk  and A Christmas Walk. I'll leave a comment with instructions for collecting your prizes on your blogs with my email address and email you if I have your address.

~~Thanks to you all for commenting and helping me celebrate!