Movies for tweens and teens that exemplify good writing and more

Movies I like-copy
I tried writing a screen play once. I tried writing a play too. Neither turned out very good. But I learned, if nothing else, what not to do. Fortunately, some writers have got this writing thing down. Recently, I was talking with some friends and told them, I let my children watch movies that are not specifically targeted for children. After all, it’s my role as the parent to set foundations upon which my children can build their lives. And too often, children’s programs and movies fall short. You don’t need crude humor, lame jokes or stupidity to be entertained.

Very early on, I realized I needed to take charge of what my children watch. Why not teach them and let them be entertained at the same time? Why not lay foundations built on qualities that encourage them to both think outside of themselves as well as reveal different aspects of the world? Continue reading

Love has its many injuries

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That is a line in a piece of short short fiction I wrote recently.  It’s one of the few stories where I experiment with humor.  To summarize, the gentleman interest of a lady at a singles group, who dances with the cheesiest dances moves possible, ends up dancing with someone other than the protagonist.  She, jealous of the woman, decides to kill her.  Sure there’s this dark and satirical edge but I rather like it.  And I know it doesn’t sound funny but it is.  Hopefully, you will read it someday and it’ll make you chuckle or grin.

I don’t often write short shorts or humor pieces–but I am trying to stretch the writing muscle to see what comes next.  And this exercise proved a worthy endeavor.  Regardless of whether or not the piece gets published, I like it.  And that’s important.  Write for yourself first. Edit for others. Remember, you need to ignore everyone else when you write and simply let the muse take you where it may. Afterward you can get much needed feedback and critique to see if it needs any work, grammatical or otherwise. But don’t lose your writing voice in the editing.

As for love having injuries, it’s odd how true that statement rings.  I’ve been in and out of love several times.  Love has its aches, both good and bad. And love has many levels.  There’s puppy love.  You remember that crush we had on the cute boy in school.  Then there is the opposite end of the spectrum—that knock-out, drug down feeling where you can’t breathe unless your love is in your lungs.

Sometimes love isn’t reciprocated.  Other times we fall out of love for whatever reason.  And there are times when, for one reason or another, you cannot be with the person you love.  Love is never clean.  It can be messy.  And sometimes it hurts. Don’t be afraid to write it. Don’t be afraid to live it.  Life, and love, is full of risks.

So write it.  Live it. Love it.

The Healing Power of Friends

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about love. I told both my writing groups that I love them. They and some of my close friends (You know who you are!) have heard my story, read my junk, listened to my trials, walked with me through my struggles and never once coddled, judged or condemned.

Yeah. Feeling the love.

Some friends are like family. They come to your house, lay beside you on the bed when you feel low, and talk with you as if nothing is out of the ordinary. They’re the kind that show up on your doorstep for no reason with goodies, Continue reading

Oh my Darlings, I’ve got a story for you

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I must confess I’ve a fondness for Darlings. It’s true. Children. Men. Pets. Not necessarily in that order.

For me the name is extra special. I’ve a Golden Retriever/Lab mix I picked up at the local animal shelter. When we first picked her up, she didn’t respond to any of the names we called her. But when I said, ‘Well, you are a Darling,’ she lit up as if deciding that would be her name.

“Darling it is,” I told my young adult daughter who was with me at the time and who’d bought me the dog as a mother’s day present.

From the moment Darling entered our house she loved us unconditionally and since that day she’s been a blessing. I knew that I would benefit from having a dog, but Darling has brought loads of smiles to my children as well Continue reading

Let’s rip up some hearts

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Tear them open.  Shred them.  Take huge chunks out them.  Hey, feel free to throw them on the floor and stomp on them.

“Why do I tear up hearts?” you ask.

Because I can!  It’s a free country.

Okay, okay, kidding.

No really, there is a more serious reason. Continue reading

Navigating the Path of Pain

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Grief is a palpable thing. It crushes us beneath its weight. If left unchecked we can find ourselves buried along with the dead (either metaphorically or physically). Often we won’t even realize we’ve suffocated until somehow we crawl out of those dark depths. Then and only then can we see the sun.

As many of you know, I’m intimately familiar with pain and grief. Over the years I’ve had many losses. When my father died I was shocked by the level of grief I felt, how it hung on. Long afterwards, I’d see something that would bring back a memory of him and a sharp stabbing pain would constrict my heart rendering me unable to breathe. I rarely, if ever, do that now but I still miss his quiet presence during Thanksgiving dinners.

At one point on my path of pain, I’d lost my sense of self in an abusive relationship. Literally, I had to rebuild myself and start over. (A note to friends and family of abused loved ones—never diminish this pain.) Loss of self is simply a different form of death.  If you’ve lived—you’ve lost,  Continue reading

When comedians use crass degradation of our military to gain cheap laughs

Earlier this month, I went with a group of friends to see a comedian.  (I won’t say the comedian’s name.  I don’t want this post to be mean spirited—that’s not what this blog is about.)

I was looking forward to a night of adult company, good conversation and hearty laughter.  Because let’s face it, we all need a good laugh every now and then.  After all, laughter has been proven to boost the immune system, lower stress, decrease pain, relax muscles, prevent heart disease, improve mood, ease anxiety, strengthen relationships and much more.

My friends came through with the good company and adult conversation.  But what happens when the headlining act doesn’t bring on the laughs and the comedy show only manages to go from bad to worse? Continue reading

Getting outside of yourself to get into the story

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Just for a few hours I wasn’t me. I invented a new name, smiled as the barista called it and enjoyed my newfound persona. Then I sat in the corner of the shop and watched others come and go.

I washed my coffee down with the atmosphere, drank in the patron’s demeanors and shamelessly imbibed in the conversations of those waiting in line for their preferred caffeinated fix.

Hurried mother’s with their misplaced teenagers standing beside them battled silently next to each other, mannerisms revealing more than words ever could. I observed. Young men fresh from the gym, bags slung over the shoulders and held in place by sweaty hands, exchanged war stories of reps and trainers. I took note. A grandfatherly figure held a small boy against his chest while his much younger looking wife ordered their food with a side of chocolate milk and a cookie. Granddad seemed so happy and proud. Grandmum was soaked in some bitter brew long before she ordered one. I saved this for later.

In public forums, we have the right to observe, record and use. Of course, me being me, I would change the names to protect the innocent. In these cases, I had no names. And I didn’t need to take notes either –mental ones are enough.

“Why did I do this? Am I some crazy stalker?” Continue reading

Dickens and Job had PTSD: Who Knew?

Who knew Dickens suffered from PTSD?

Who knew Dickens suffered from PTSD?

Did you know that Charles Dickens suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

He writes about being “curiously weak… as if I were recovering from a long illness,” after surviving a train crash that killed 10 people and injured 49.  Dickens expressed his feelings in letters to others stating, “I begin to feel it more in my head. I sleep well and eat well; but I write half a dozen notes, and turn faint and sick… I am getting right, though still low in pulse and very nervous.”   After the train accident, Dickens avoided trains because he always got the feeling that the train was tipping over, saying he found the feeling to be “inexpressibly distressing.”

Despite PTSD being a fairly new word (it didn’t actually enter our vocabulary until 1980 when it became part of the DSM – III) symptoms of it have been documented for thousands of years.   Ancient texts, including the story of Job in the Bible—written in 420 B.C.—describe the hopelessness and extreme psychological anguish one gets when faced with life altering consequences involving physical and psychological trauma.  Job, in a very short time lost all of his possessions, his family and his health almost simultaneously.  This would be a crushing blow for anyone.  Yet Job lives as an example that in time we can, if not heal and recover, Continue reading

The Art of Self Promotion through In-Person Networking

It’s only a few days until Christmas and I’m tempted to write about all the great gifts that writers want and need.

Books, books, and more books!  Okay, okay, I admit that’s what I want for Christmas.

And I could talk about all the other gifts that are great for writers, me included.  Take note all of you who are friends of mine.  *hint, hint*  Just to name a few: a writer’s retreat, the content driven organizer tool for writers that I’ve been hearing rave reviews about from my writing friends called Scrivener, a Scratch subscription to learn all about the “business of good writing” as a fellow writer puts it, a coffee gift card (Gotta have coffee!) and there are plenty more.

Instead I’ve a few suggestions on how to network yourself as a writer.   Yep, that’s right you need to market yourself if you want to be noticed in the writing world.

Attend social gatherings and cocktail parties.  Be real while there.  Not braggidocios or arrogant.  Don’t be shy either.  Find a middle road.  Relate with others on topics outside of writing.  That’s not to say you can’t talk about writing.  Just don’t let that be all that you talk about.  Let them see you as the person behind the story, book, screenplay or whatever it is you specialize in writing. Continue reading