Archive for the ‘Writing Life’ Category

Two crucial skills for the writing life.

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Each day, we are bombarded by the tasks we must do, by the things we want to accomplish, and by the demands of tasks and people upon our time. There is only so much time, and so often too many things to do. We necessarily must master the skill of multitasking, of doing more than one thing at a time: answering the phone and emails, scheduling meetings and signings, managing children and pets, managing a household, making time for love, tracking our books and our word count.

Writing & publishing have become a multi-skill career, especially for writers, where we must write, have a business plan, set goals, design covers, write a blog, maintain a website, and market our books. Some of us do all of these things, some of us out-source some of it. And most of us do have other demands placed on our time, like family, friends, favorite past-times, other jobs.

And all of this demands that we multitask, and that is necessary. It’s almost a survival skill.

Lost in all of this multitasking, all of this busyness, is the equally crucial skill of … focus. Being able to focus fully, for long periods, is very important. Lost too is perhaps our best work, our richest and most engaging writing, and our real potential as writers. Without focus, our work suffers, our creativity isn’t as great or as deep. The constant interruptions and distractions mean we not only do not get as much done of what is really important for our dreams (writing, for example), but what we do during those crucial hours isn’t of the quality that we could want.

What can we do to more fully apply that skill of mental focus to our work, our writing. On my blog post about writer’s block (filed under Writer’s Life), I recommend using a timer and freeing up the mind from other things that might intrude. It’s kind of like beginning to practice meditation, where other thoughts and distractions must be kept to a minimum, and where mental discipline must be continually exercised. Once you’ve decided that it is more important that you become more deeply focused when you write, then you will probably think of other ways to accomplish this.

Here are some tips on focusing from that previous blogpost:

1) Before ending the day’s writing time, write a few lines of the next scene or a few ideas for that scene, so that it’s easier to pick up at the next session.

2) As you sit there, take the first 10 to 15 minutes to read a section of a book on craft or articles on craft, to switch your mind from the daily grind to writing and craft.

3) Set up your writing time so that all you have to think about is writing. Since you have other pressing things to do in your day, perhaps schedule your day on the evening before, so that when you begin to write, all of those other things are settled, done, and you’re not thinking about all the other things you have to do that day. Instead you’re thinking about and focused on writing. (see No. 5 & 6)

4) Write in a Journal before you begin your writing time, to dump all the things that are bothering you or distracting you. Assign a maximum time for this (5 minutes), otherwise it could take over much of your writing time.

5) Set a timer for the length of time you want to write and then think of nothing else during that time–that is the time you have for writing–until the timer goes off. This allows you to fully focus on your writing, and to set everything else aside for that hour or for whatever time you’ve allocated.

6) When you sit down to write, if other things occur to you that must be done or that are competing with focusing on writing, then quickly create a list of those things you need to do or think about. And then put it aside, so that they’re all written down and will be less likely to distract you.

7) Plan–an outline or variation of one, but at least a general idea of where you’re going with the novel, whether it’s a general statement, a synopsis with the main plot points, or an outline.

And a quote on the subject:  “…when you are completely open, when on all levels you are in complete communication, completely integrated, then there is joy and you begin to create … creativeness is a sense of total self-forgetfulness, when there is no turmoil, when one is wholly unaware of the movement of thought.” — Krishnamurti.

How do you see yourself applying & balancing these skills in your life?

 

 

The Craft Warehouse in Your Head

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

How or where do writers get their ideas? If you asked our loved ones, they might feel like they could swear the ideas were found somewhere just outside a window, or that somehow the idea stork drops another package for us after the appropriate incubation period, or as in The Hunger Games, some avid beneficiary will parachute it down to us in our hour of need. A gift from “your sponsors.”

So, really, where do we get our ideas? In case your loved ones didn’t know, the raw materials of fiction are available at your very own local craft warehouse. Yes, the craft warehouse…of fiction writing. The one in your mind. So, next time you’re found staring out the window, your friends and family can now picture you parking outside that “store,” and perusing for those fiction gems, up and down those mental aisles, pushing your “shopping cart,” checking the shelves for that perfect plot or hero or setting. There we’ll be, filling that “shopping cart” full of ideas, realizing that we might have to come back later for more, that we might have to in fact exchange some things. Or sometimes just wandering around looking and comparing. Now where was I stocking that one thriller plot?

That warehouse is an accumulation of all those things we’ve been exposed to, all our ideas, divided into two not-so-neat departments, nature and nurture. Not to say that we’re using “stock” characters or “stock” anything. For me—for any writer—that warehouse “stores” all the experiences I’ve had personally, all the people I’ve met and known, all the stories I’ve read, characters I’ve met, and more importantly, all the wonderful spaces and possibilities in-between where my ideas or the fragments of ideas to come may be found. And those departments are divided, of course, into other departments, other sections. Everyone’s is the same; yet everyone’s is so different.

So, there we are, trundling our shopping carts through those aisles, row upon row, shelves stacked. Signs overhead pointing to Department of  Plots & Subplots, and Department of Psychology (Character arcs) or Human Resources (heroes, heroines, secondary characters, villains). The World Market (world-building, settings).  Starter Kits (openings, themes, genres).  Department of Communications (dialogue, non-verbals). Research & Development. And in the back corner or perhaps the basement—isn’t it always—there’s… Bed Bath & Be-Erotic (with directions. Insert A into B—in infinitely (we hope) different ways). And so on. Oh, and don’t forget the Open Bin section, for those miscellaneous things—ideas returned or those we might use someday.

Obviously, some writers have more shelves stacked with particular things (in, for example, HR), like vampires and werewolves; others with action figures or hunky romance heroes, or hard-nosed detectives; and still others with female helicopter pilots and CIA operatives; beautiful suspense heroines, duchesses, teachers, wives and girlfriends.

But while you’re cruising those mental aisles, don’t forget about restocking those shelves. Yes, restocking. (Picturing myself struggling with a large box of dialogue, shelving it in Communications after a trip to the University? Or to uh…Craft Warehouse?) But restocking is the other fun part of writing. It’s refreshing your supply of …everything. Getting out and experiencing. Reading, researching. Then reorganizing. Sifting through. And restocking. And it’s all on the conveyor belt of Life.

Then it’s ready for you, the writer, to create something…with those elements of fiction. And like DNA—Recombinant. In this case, Dialogue, Narrative, Action and everything in-between.

The elements or molecules of fiction are the [writing sequences] that result from the use of the craft to bring together the writing material from multiple sources, creating sequences that would not otherwise be found in written “organisms.” Like Recombinant DNA, it is possible because those craft molecules share the same basic structure; they differ only in the sequence of elements within that “identical” overall structure. And of course, the writer’s creativity.

What’s on your list today?

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Note: (For the last paragraph on Recombinant DNA, I was paraphrasing from Wikipadia’s text on Recombinant DNA, but changing text to apply to writing, so I could “recombine” some metaphors.)

 

Thoughts on rebirth at Easter

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

Whatever one’s religion, and whether one celebrates it or not,  Easter is about rebirth and, I think, has something for everyone.

First,  I want to explore the holiday’s origins, to be inclusive. It’s interesting always that for most or all of what we believe, there are the threads of these stories–some version–through all of our cultures, a commonality that serves to unite all of us.  Its origins date back before the Christian form of the holiday, though the Christian holiday obviously stands on its own—-possible planning, to have the holiday be a part of the spring and the idea of renewal.. 

I’ve included some information about the origins of the holiday (from Wikipedia) in the next few paragraphs (but if you want to skip all of that, just scroll down 6 small paragraphs)**.

The origins of the holiday are linked to the Jewish Passover by its symbolism (See WikiPedia: Easter), and by its position on the calendar.

It’s also a secular holiday with the Easter bunny, egg decoration  and egg hunting. The Easter bunny is a kind of Santa Claus of the holiday, and the egg is a symbol of birth. Egg decorating symbolizes the ability to change and our uniqueness. There’s also the quandary or conundrum of which was first, the egg or the chicken–again implying change (Make of that what you will).

But further than that … before the Christian form of Easter, scholars propose there was a Germanic form, a reconstructed Proto-Indo-European goddess of the dawn, Hausos. ((1) See Wikipedia: Hausos) “The dawn goddess was also the goddess of spring, involved in the mythology of the Indo-European new year, where the dawn goddess is liberated from imprisonment by a god (reflected in the Rigveda as Indra, in Greek mythology as Dionysus and Cronus).” (1)  

References to a dawn goddess also come from “the Sanskrit vanas “loveliness; desire,” in the Rigveda, and from the Latin name Venus and the Norse Vanir. “(1)

“The name indicates that the goddess was imagined as a beautiful nubile woman, who also had aspects of a love goddess. As a consequence, the love goddess aspect was separated from the personification of dawn in a number of traditions, including Roman Venus vs. Aurora, and Greek Aphrodite vs. Eos. ” (1)

“The Italic goddess Mater Matuta “Mother Morning” has been connected to Aurora by Roman authors (Lucretius, Priscianus)”; and the “abduction and imprisonment of the dawn goddess, and her liberation by a heroic god slaying the dragon who imprisons her, is a central myth of Indo-European religion, reflected in numerous traditions. Most notably, it is the central myth of the Rigveda, a collection of hymns surrounding the Soma rituals dedicated to Indra in the new year celebrations of the early Indo-Aryans.”(1)

**So, the common threads in most of the stories are a time of change, the season of spring, represented in previous times by a kind of Dawn Goddess, who is imprisoned but freed, a kind of rebirth. The dawn and spring are times of rebirth, of change, of things that were hidden coming to light, of seeing things that were of yesterday in a new light, of a brief time of fallowness but then new seeds taking root with new life. Of a new day and a new chance. (Some of you may remember Anne of Green Gables (Anne with an “e”  😉  ) who was taught that every new day was a new beginning.)

Change is the thing most stable in life. It is one of those rhythms of life. Easter is a holiday of change–among other things, it symbolizes dying and being reborn, which of course, applies to the creative process and to growing as a writer, as an artist. When we become, we kind of shed a part of our old self and embrace the new–the new as an expression of the potential self, our potential self. And the potential self is a well that never runs dry.

Have a very Happy Easter.

© Document Driven 2012

(1) Wikipedia: Hausos

Spring & the Writer’s Quarterly–a time for review, renewal, growth

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

With Spring here and the end of March approaching, it also means that the first quarter of the New Year is over. It seems a good time to review goals, to take the measure of how we’re doing  and then to renew those goals. The New Year offers a unique opportunity for self-renewal, for setting goals, for setting oneself to achieving old goals and new ones, for hope. With the first quarter of the year coming to an end, let’s reinvest in that opportunity, in what we are, what we want, what we love. And Big Congratulations to all those who have met most or some of their goals!! It takes not only talent but also effort, persistence and focus.

As artists, writers, let’s look at what could be referred to as–what I’m going to refer to as–our writer’s Quarterly Report, of goals & achievements. Remembering that part of what a Quarterly measures is not just whether we’ve met a projected goal, but also growth. Growth. Let’s look at what we’ve done and what we haven’t, but also how we’ve grown as writers. It’s a snapshot of how we are doing so far, of how we’re doing in each “department” of publishing–writing, marketing, ebooks, social networking–and then a reinvestment in those goals.

First congratulate yourselves on having met the goals that you did. In any part of our lives though, there are goals and desires that can be frustrated, for which that Quarterly doesn’t show much growth. For those goals, we don’t want to be like the dieter who eats one brownie, loses perspective because of not winning this one battle, and proceeds to eat 5 more–losing the whole war. While this is just an analogy–eating 5 more brownies may not mean losing the whole war–it illustrates a perspective that is so needed in our writing–the perspective of persistence. And revisiting that saying in publishing, that persistence–in any goal–often counts more than talent.

So, let’s take that Writer’s Quarterly Report and review it, and then renew our commitment to those New Year’s goals. Spring is a time for renewal.

You are your own creation–apply you, your talents to becoming the person/author that you envision, to becoming the writer, the author that you have dreamed about. To make that dream, a reality.

A Spring poem for inspiration: “And it’s Oh the wild Spring and his chances and dreams. There’s a lift in the blood. Oh this gracious and thirsting and aching unrest; all life’s at the bud, and my heart, full of April, is breaking my breast.” — Henley.

The Artist Date–creative renewal

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Julie Cameron wrote a book called The Artist’s Way.  In the book, she advocates for what she calls “The Artist Date.”  This is something I’ve tried to incorporate into my weeks. Her idea: a 2-hour (or so) block of time that an artist–writer, designer, painter, musician–sets aside to spend time alone for nurturing their creativity, their inner creative child. (See the book for more information.) Julie Cameron talks about “replenishing our creative resources.”  She also writes that resistance to one’s artist dates is “a fear of intimacy–self-intimacy.”

(Note: According to psychologists, the self is made up of 3 entities: the adult, the parent, and the child. And of course the conscious and subconscious.)

As a past (and present) student of psychology (literally having taken a lot of coursework), I believe these are the kinds of things that help keep an artist fresh, keep the creative wheels turning, and each person is different as to what will be their creative fountain of renewal and ideas. But this need for renewal–for living life so that you as an artist have a full reservoir of creative raw material, and thus more to apply in your creative field–is nothing new. It also helps with writer’s block.

Here are some of my artist’s dates ( which can also serve as research for a book):

A new experience, a new possibility for a setting in a novel.

A walk or run on the beach or along the river, in the woods or mountains.

A visit to the bookstore (or library), to gather magazines (at least some that I don’t usually read) and books for perusal, with hot tea at hand

A visit to the local Art Museum, gallery, historical landmark, or other interesting places.

A drive into the country or elsewhere to visit somewhere that’s loved, somewhere that’s new.

Playing music or doing something else that exercises another talent or creative activity.

                                       *    *     *

Do you like the idea of artist dates? Do you use artist dates in your life? What kinds of things renew you as an artist/writer?

“The most potent muse of all is our own inner child.” — Stephen Nachmanovitch.

Focusing your story, your writing life

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Something on focus–or “framing”–today…in fiction, in life.

When we’re talking about having a great opening, preventing a sagging middle, and jazzing the readers with a terrific ending, we talking about focusing that story, about keeping it moving, keeping it intriguing–and keeping the readers turning those pages. I wanted to touch on that today, and on ourselves as writers, focusing our writing lives–so that our writing careers have a great opening, middle and “ending.”  When we hold up a frame, like an artist might, to look at different aspects of our fiction and our lives, what do we want to include within that frame?

We want the story to be compelling from beginning to end.  When we hold up that frame, what is our focus? Here are a few questions to consider:  Is there too much backstory in the first few chapters? Are the first few chapters seamlessly leading readers through your opening–introducing your characters, your Central question, your plot, voice, genre–and then into Act Two? Where are the turning points? Does the conflict build, scene by scene,  to a satisfying climax? Are there too many subplots, which don’t support the main plot, so that the plot and conflict are diluted and fizzle? Or are there too many characters or too many scenes that don’t go anywhere, that don’t support the main story, that don’t add to characterization or conflict? 

In the same way, is your writing life focused? Are you building your brand? Are there too many distractions and your efforts are diluted–they’re not focused on your goals. Are you supporting your main goal, your greatest desire and dream, with how you spend your time, your energy?

For inspiration, here’s an excerpt from my Plein-Air writing, The Harvest from Earth’s Palette:

“…Art captures those moments, those stories. The Earth whispers into our bones the age-old ways of storytelling, of capturing life in art. But the Earth captures who we are. We are the art; our lives and selves are the medium. We paint the world with who we are. We are the figures in our own paintings, the heroes in our own stories, the decisions we make about life and others–decisions that may be truth, or what we need or want to believe.

The courtyard of the land awaits, with empty tables, to be filled with players. We carry around a frame, holding it up much like an artist, seeing sections of that courtyard, like a photo album, spread across the landscape, a scene here, a grouping there: visitors on covered porches; painters with canvases, on balconies, near orchards; writers sitting in gardens, gazing at mountains. Each group, each person creates their own story. While Life frames us into what or who we are, we frame ourselves by what we do, how we live our lives, by the choices we make. So we paint ourselves into the landscape, surrounding ourselves with our own frames. …”

Our fiction tells the stories of people,  but your own life is your own story, one you are telling right now, right here, with how you choose to spend your time, your energy. With how you express your passion…or don’t.

For the full text of The Harvest From Earth’s Palette, here’s the link:

http://www.columbiaarts.org/anthology/2010/pages/gorgeWhitehouse/janiceHussein.html

What to write… ?

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Coming up with a “novel” idea…but more than that…

Someone(s) once said that what you write is more important that how you write it.  But also what kind of books and what kinds of themes do you *want* to write. What themes truly resonate with you?

Here are some questions that might be worth exploring in pursuit of that answer:

First, when I wrote personal statements to apply to grad school, I was asked who had influenced me the most during my life and how had they influenced me?  Applying that to publishing…

Since what you write and your career in publishing is as important as getting into grad school, let’s apply that to writing — your writing percolates up from your life, from what you’ve experienced, from who you’ve become and therefore who and how you’ve been influenced, what you’re interested in, and how you’ve come to think about things.

So, in the interests of discovering what you should be writing, or more about what you should be writing–a game of nines:

What 9 people have influenced you the most during your life–not just the writing years or your adult years–and how did they influence you?

On those same lines, what are the 9 key things that have happened in your life that have influenced you…the most?

What are the 9 top books that you *absolutely* love (or scenes), and why? And movies, the same.

What 9 books or plots or kinds of stories or scenes would you like to see written or made into a film or have always wanted to write?

What are your top 9 interests and, of those, which are the interests that you devote the most time to?

What are your top 9 favorite characters in fiction and/or in history, and why? What do you like about them? Strong personality or character, place in history, approach to life, romantic adventures, ability to do the right thing, part of a legend, wisdom, and so on…

What are your  top 9 favorite TV shows in the past and currently, and why?

And finally, the last question (no nines), What do you like to read and what do you actually spend time reading? This is always a good question, except that many people love to read some kinds of books, say romance, but love to write and are best at writing, a different type of book, say mainstream, or thrillers, or young adult.

This is kind of a journey in self-discovery, of yourself and of you as a writer. So, I’d suggest letting the answers percolate, and then just see where this takes you. ;-D

The New Year of Writing

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

It’s the New Year, a time for resolutions, a time for renewal, and a time for renewed commitment to writing.

Here are some books that have inspired me or helped me:

One of the first books in my writing life that inspired me is Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande. Chapters that may be particularly good are “Interlude: On Taking Advice,” “The Critic at Work on Himself,” and “The Source of Originality.”

Another great book for writing, for setting goals and for achieving successful  as a writer in the publishing world, is Write it Forward: From Writer to Successful Author by Bob Mayer, NY Times best-selling author of over 50 books.  This is an excellent book. It takes you through a unique process of setting goals, a process he adapted to writers and writing from his experiences at West Point and in Special Forces as an A-Team leader, and then as a best-selling author.  He is also one of the top indie published authors in the country, and speaks at workshops and conferences around the world. This process works. His website is: www.bobmayer.org

A more general book about setting goals, but one that is also excellent is Work With Passion in Midlife and Beyond: Reach Your Full Potential & Make the Money You Need by Nancy Anderson. Nancy cofounded two career counseling firms and then established her private practice. She has hosted her own radio show, appeared in numerous television and radio programs, and spoken to civic, business and professional organizations.  Her website is: www.workwithpassion.com

One more very good book on creativity is Freeing Your Creativity: a Writer’s Guide by Marshall J. Cook.  Some especially very good chapters for getting yourself motivated are: “What’s Getting in Your Way?” “Creative Procrastination” and “Keeping That Writing Appointment.”

And of course, there’s Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way for artists of all kinds.

Are there books that have helped you as a writer or inspired you?

Words Played in Harmony

Friday, November 11th, 2011

In my 2011 Writer’s Digest’s Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market article (whew, that’s a mouthful), “Which Arc Are We On?”  I compared the composer of music to the writer:

“And like the composer of music, who drafts the right notes, phrases, and movements for an orchestra, the writer creates the words, scenes and arcs to be played in the readers’ mind. There are many arcs in play, at any time in a novel…and they must all work together in harmony.”

In this case, writers are both the composers and the conductors. Writers, like composers, determine what parts are played by which “instruments,” by which elements of fiction–characters, setting, dialogue, opening, theme.  Both music and fiction are made to elicit emotions, and have a beginning, middle and end, themes, movements…

However, the conductor, once those elements are arranged, determines how those phrases, how that composition is interpreted for the audience–as does the writer. The writer, or conductor, determines how the composition unfolds, how it flows, & to some extent, what its voice will be–how dynamic, how loud, soft, passionate, exciting…for the audience.  The conductor brings all the elements together for the final “interpretation,” to be played for the audience, making certain that everything works together for the right effect.

But it is the audience who determines if that composer/conductor has “perfect pitch”–or in this case, the writer. And I see this being played out more and more now with epublishing. It is the readers who determine whether they will buy or read our books, who let us know how “on pitch”–or off key–we are, or if our works / words have that interest, beauty, excitement, passion that draws an audience.

As best-selling author and epublishing expert Bob Mayer has said on his blog, Write It Forward, it is really the writer who determines who will be in their audience, by the quality of their books, and thus,  it is the writer who is the ultimate gatekeeper. The writer must first create a quality product, must learn to compose and create that harmony, learn to master those elements and achieve that perfect pitch, so that readers will want to be in their audience.

And then we have to promote our books, but that is another story… and another kind of “pitch.”  😉

If you would like to add anything to this, please feel free to comment.

Looking Back:the Plein-Air Write-Out

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Now that the weather is turning colder, and winter is approaching, my thoughts have turned to my sojourns in August into the country and the summer weather.

In late August, I participated, for a second year, in the Columbia River Gorge’s Plein-Air Write-Out–now the 7th annual. About 20 artists and 12 writers gather together at one location, each day, and paint or write, in response to their surroundings. The submission deadline is that 5th day, Monday, for the writers, with an Opening Reception and a Public reading later and publication in the online anthology.

For the writer, the goal is to capture a moment of time, to paint a picture for others to “see.” A little about the Plein Air. It’s held in the Columbia River Gorge over 5 days, in 5 locations. This year we were guests at these 5 locations: (1) the Gorge White House, in Hood River, Oregon; (2) Pebble Beach, on the Stevenson, WA, waterfront which is across the Bridge of the Gods from Cascade Locks; (3) Moiser Plateau, owned by Friends of the Gorge; (4) Gorge Crest Vineyards, in Underwood, WA.; and (5) Downtown Hood River & Marina.

DAY 1, GORGE WHITE HOUSE, Hood River, Oregon.

I visited the Gorge White House on that first day. The House is a 1910 Dutch Colonial home situated 31 acres of fields and orchards along Highway 35, the Mount Hood Scenic Byway. It’s listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, and is a working farm with beautiful gardens of daffodils, tulips, gladiolas, lilies, zinnias and sunflowers, and so on (U-cut or they-cut) and a variety of fruit offerings, including an orchard of Bartlett, Golden Bosc, and Stark Crimson Pears, and a few heirloom apple varieties, blueberries, strawberries and table grapes.

They have other specialty items in their onsite store, like the superb Pear Walnut Sauce and the sinfully delicious Chocolate Merlot Coffee Truffle Sauce. There is wine-tasting in the House, and you can enjoy a glass of Columbia Gorge wine or microbrew with friends. From the large second-story balcony at the front of the house, you can clearly see both Mt. Adams & Mt Hood, and have a great view of the farm and surrounding area.

During the Plein Air, there are artists with canvasses and paints everywhere, and writers strolling among them or through the orchard. Or you may find the writers sitting on the porch with their laptops or at the garden tables with a glass of wine right outside the house.

The GWH is open April, May and October, from 10-6 Friday thru Monday, and by appointment Tuesday thru Thursday. And they’re open daily 10-6 June thru September.

Website: www.thegorgewhitehouse.com  Phone: 541-386-2828;    Address: 2265 Hwy 35, Hood River, Oregon, just 4 miles south of town.

_________________________________________

DAY 5, HOOD RIVER, OREGON.

On the fifth day,  I visited the town of  Hood River, on the Columbia River, where I wandered thru the many, many specialty shops (not to shop but to get a sense of the place–at least this time around)–the town is almost like a small resort town, though there is a focus on the arts and on wind-surfing, kayaking, and other water and snow sports, with a number of upscale shops catering to this and the arts.  (John Kerry windsurfs here, on occasion.)

To write, I stopped at several of the coffee shops–one with open outside seating in the sun–joining other writers from the local area, the Write-Out and elsewhere.

There are a number of great restaurants too. I spent a long lunch on the outside deck of one of the big hotels there, directly on the river, with a great view and fabulous food. Bliss.

It’s a great experience, lovely locations, friendly people. But it’s also the sense of all that bursting creativity, and that is what keeps me going back. It’s a great place to get ideas.

In this years anthology, my short, short story, “Ghost of a Chance.” The link is here:  http://t.co/fz8BVSGn

In last years anthology, my essay, “The Harvest From Earth’s Palette.” The link:  http://bit.ly/d2J6D3

For more info: Columbia Center for the Arts. www.columbiaarts.org