Thursday, March 16, 2017

Why I write by Diane Bator

As I titled this short essay I wrote in our last HWG meeting, I chuckled. Memories of essays past when we'd return to school after summer vacation. "How I Spent My Summer."
Why I write is a lot more simple.

Writing to me is like opening a gift at Christmas. The initial idea starts off as a wonderful gift and as I unwrap, the whole thing becomes bigger and sometimes even better.

I've always been a writer, a daydreamer, a story teller. My life revolved around my ability to live a thousand lives and try new things vicariously through books and imagination. (You can see how I spent my summers!)

I'm constantly fascinated with a blank page or a blank canvas that I can create upon. Creating something that was never there before. I love paper and pens. The smell of a crisp new book off the shelf makes me swoon. Even the musty scents of a used bookstore sends my senses reeling.

Yes. I have a love affair with the written word and all of the tools it takes to shape each letter. My inspirations come from my life. My art often imitates my own curiosities.

What if?

What if a tornado hit town?

What if I dove off a cliff into the ocean and met a mermaid? Or a pirate?

What if I met the man of my dreams? (Don't you just love a good fairytale?)

My writing has opened up new worlds for me and introduced me to people I never would have met otherwise. I've done things I might not ever do, just to be able to write about them later. And taken things that have happened and explored them in a fictional way.

I would love to write for money. To be considered a "real" writer, but I need the distractions my life provides. The people and the experiences that shape me and my skills. I'm grateful to have a fun job, great friends, and many fabulous opportunities!

If you're a reader, keep reading.
If you're a writer, keep writing and never give up!!
Many of us have been told to quit. Told not to waste our time.
Follow your heart!!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Prompt Post: And So I Write


And so, I write ...
Dorothy Chiotti


A good swift kick in the proverbial pants got my attention. A boss pulled me aside.

"Get that chip off your shoulder, she demanded. "I see potential, but you're too busy being a victim."

Well, I'm paraphrasing, of course, but it did kind of happen like that. I was in the secretarial pool at the time, and she saw something that I was too blind too see, even though it had been staring me in the face my entire life.

The creative spark. The wordsmith. The writer.

What went wrong? I can tell you what went wrong.

When I was 10 years old, a teacher accused me of plagiarizing a poem. A class assignment to write something about spring. I called mine, "Lambs in Spring." It goes as follows:

Little white balls of beautiful fluff,
Bouncing and prancing and that sort of stuff.
Baaing and whimpering here and there,
Sometimes they'll do nothing but stop and stare.
Crying for mother on a lovely spring day,
Mother comes running; decides to stay.
Bounding and twisting round and round
Looking for something no other lamb's found.

I read it in front of the class.

"Are you sure you wrote this?" he asked.

To my tender 10-year-old heart it was a blow. I was not a liar. I just loved words. But it cut me, and my confidence as a writer sank. Why write if no one would believe my offerings were word-smithed by me?

So, I shrank away from words, and had little confidence in my creativity. Until my boss gave me the wake-up call. The threat to fire me if I didn't get my act together. A difficult conversation was had after an equally difficult weekend of introspection and tears. Was she right? Was there more to me than met my eye?

Evidently so. For she made good and gave me the employee newsletter to design, write and edit. And I thrived in this new aspect of my work. And from there to corporate communications; to marketing; to advertising ~ so that by the time I left the workforce I was a confident writer.

For others.

But what about ... for me? What confidence did I have in revealing my soul to the world. Where was my voice?

Another journey. The inner journey. The quest for my voice. And the only avenue ... to write ~ and write some more. To be bad at it; terrified to share it; get better at it. Scream the words when appropriate. Not the words, the essence.

Can anybody hear me? Does anybody hear me?

Therapy, and lots of it. Getting unstuck from old self-concepts. Old ideas of my worth and how I see myself.

And then the horses. Another wake-up call. The horses reflecting my truth to me and declaring there is room for me; my energy; my truth; my voice.

The active voice.

And so, I write.


~*~

Posted on behalf of Dorothy Chiotti:


Dorothy Chiotti recently completed her debut novel, Murder on the High Cs, for which she is actively seeking an agent. She is a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC), and lives in Mono, Ontario, with her husband and myriad four-legged friends. You can see more of her work at www.dorothychiotti.com.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Prompt Post: Why Do You Write?


Below is the response to a recent writing prompt. Please remember, all prompts written at writing group are done in a limited period of time. All writing is raw and unedited.
~~~

Why Do I Write?

Once I had a passion for writing. I always loved to read but the thought of holding a book in my hand with my name on it filled me with desire.

As a teenager I took a creative writing class in school. I made friends with my classmates and we began to write together. We would take turns writing parts of a story. The results were actually pretty hilarious.

In that class we had to journal and I have continued to do that to this day. Life is a struggle, life is frustrating. Journaling helps me get my thoughts, fears, angers and desires out of my head and down on paper.

When I became ill and unable to return to working outside the home, I took an old story I had written as a teenager and re-wrote it. Then I wrote another story. The ideas were plentiful. I had the passion, the drive, and the time to, perhaps, make my dream of becoming a published author come true.

I joined a writing group, met with award winning authors, agents, other wannabes like me, and took writing workshops. I was encouraged and motivated.

And then something happened. I'm not sure what. The passion suddenly dissipated. I don't know whether it was because of negative critiquing I received, life's interference, doubt, fear, or my illness. Something cranked the parking brake and the passion died.

I still like to write, still want to write, but can't seem to push myself to make the effort to get back to those two abandoned novels.

But I still hope....


HWG Meeting March 5, 2017


Discussion surrounded the upcoming Open Mic Night (name to be confirmed) on April 20th at the Orangeville Public Library. Harry Posner will be the M.C. while Diane Bator will be our featured speaker. An official email account has been sent up for the Headwaters Writers' Guild (hwg5.writers@gmail.com) to be used as a contact email and for registration for the upcoming event. Four members in attendance verbally registered for the event; they will be sent a confirmation email.

Diane is now working at Theatre Orangeville. She informed us that they are now selling tickets for A Literary Pairing - a fundraiser for their New Play Development Fun - organized by Nancy Frater, owner of BookLore in Orangeville. This 2-night event consisting of five authors takes place on Tuesday, March 28th and Tuesday, May 16th, beginning at 7pm at The Opera House. Tickets are $25 for one night or $40 for both. Diane will forward a poster when she has it.

As leader this week, Nancy encouraged us to consider why we write as a prompt (or to take another prompt from the bag).

Why do you write? Have you always wanted to write? When did you discover that writing was important to you? Do you call yourself a writer? Natalie Goldberg suggests that if you write you should call yourself a writer.

How did you become a writer? What steps did you take? Did you join a writing group, and did that help you? Did anybody mentor you?

When did you start writing? Did you have any challenges and what were they? Some people start pieces and then never finish them. What problem do you have? Do you have a solution?

What do you prefer to write? Do you believe that writing is your calling or purpose? Do you write for the money or do you do it for the joy of it? Do you journal to discover who you really are? What motivates you? What hinders you?

Have you read a book that helped your writing?

Do you record your dreams as prompts for your writing? Many authors glean ideas from their dreams? What methods do you use?

If you stopped writing, what would help you start again?

All are encouraged to share their writing from the above and other prompts on this blog.

Five members brought two books for the Blind Book Exchange. Ten members were in attendance so every member got to take a wrapped book home to read and, we hope, review on this blog.

The next meeting is Sunday, March 19th.
Judy will be leading.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Becoming A Writer


Becoming a Writer
By Nancy Rorke
If it weren’t for my second mystical or near-death experience (NDE) on February 23, 1996, I don’t imagine I would have started writing again. Creativity hadn’t been a part of my life for over thirty years. While lying unconscious on the floor of St. Timothy’s Church with severe abdominal pain for over twenty-five minutes, I visited Heaven. I had an encounter with beings that I call the Holy Ones. They told me they would heal me, but, I had to return to my life on Earth because I hadn’t completed my mission.
Ever since my first NDE when I was three, I always wanted to return to Heaven. This time, I agreed with them that my mission was important enough for me to stay on Earth. Immediately, there was a gentle force that put me back in my body, and my eyes opened against my will. I saw Joe, my husband, wearing a coat. I was confused that I was in church. I thought I was in my bed and had been dreaming of Heaven again.
Afterwards, I couldn’t remember what I had promised to do. I became obsessive about dying and living. I thought I had been sent back only to say good-bye to loved ones. Three months later, in a book store, I asked the Holy Ones for help in picking out a book. I was shocked by the answer.

***

I taught myself to read when I was two years old. When I was ten, I told my little sister that I read so much because I needed to learn how to write. Ever since I could remember, I always wanted to become an author. I believe that most children know their mission or calling but sometimes lose their memory before they are teenagers.
 In school, I excelled in English lit, creative writing, and history. At the beginning of grade ten, I asked my English teacher, Mrs. Palmer, to look at the short story I had written over the summer holidays. Two days later, she told me that the head of the English department wanted me to join the grade thirteen writing club. After a few meetings, I was intimidated because I was four years younger, and I left. I stopped writing when I graduated from high school.
Since my first NDE, I have conversed with my great-grandmother, Isabella. When I was thirty-eight, she contacted me through another psychic. She said that my parents were wrong. I was supposed to go to university and become an author and write numerous books. At the time, I hadn’t written anything in twenty or more years. I still didn`t write.  

***

Now three months after my second NDE, while in the book store, I asked the Holy Ones for help in selecting a book. They led me to purchase Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. I was shocked because I wasn’t an artist. But, thank God, I took their advice. At home, I realized that it was for writers too.
Cameron believes that creative dreams are sometimes stolen by the negative comments we hear about our art or artistic personalities. Her major steps are writing three sheets of daily morning pages, having an artist date once a week, and writing affirmations such as I am willing to create.
            Without Cameron’s book, I never would have started writing again, and I certainly would not have been published. Presently, I am editing my non-fiction book about my NDEs.
             I wish I had never stopped writing. When I write, I am happy beyond measure. I feel joy in every pore of my body. Just for a short while, it feels like I have returned home.

~~~~~~~~~~~
Posted on behalf of Nancy Rorke
   

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Pillow Dreams



At writing group we are given a list of prompts and 10-20 minutes to write. The idea is to just write. The result is a raw, probably unfinished piece of work. Below is what I wrote at group recently. This is very raw. I revised nor added nothing.

The prompt: What if your pillow collected your dreams and you could plug it in to your laptop and watch them over and over again?


Pillow Dreams
By Mary Patricia Bird

I awoke at 3 a.m. in a hot sweat. I had been dreaming. I know you should write down your dreams immediately so as not to forget them, but I was more concerned with my moist clothes and dry mouth. I changed my pajamas and got a drink of water, then I climbed back into bed and immediately fell asleep.

When I awoke in the morning my mind was blank. The dream had completely disintegrated from my mind. Frustrated, I sat up and stared at my pillow. It was a new pillow, one I had just bought the day before. I was just now noticing a black cord sticking out of the pillow case. I pulled on it but it didn’t budget. Upon further examination I realized it was actually attached to the pillow, the end a USB connection.

Curious, I grabbed my laptop and plugged the USB into it. Strange images appeared on the screen – colourful squiggly lines which eventually faded into darkness.

Like a movie, a scene began to appear. A tree, and then another tree, and then another. I was staring at a dark forest. It wasn’t just any forest though. It was familiar to me. I became mesmerized as I “moved” through the forest until I reached a clearing where an old cabin stood.

“Oh God,” I moaned. This was a scene from my dream. As it came back to me I felt sweat trickling down between my breasts. If this was my dream I knew what was going to happen. I tried to focus, to stay put, not moving, but the cabin grew larger on the screen as, obviously, I approached it.

My heart began to quicken and I brought one hand to my chest, the other to cover my eyes slightly. I didn’t want to look but at the same time I did.

A hand, my hand, reached to open the door. It was as if I was playing in a virtual reality game, but I knew this was no game and it was not going to be fun. I still could not remember exactly what lay behind that door but my mind and body were telling me it wasn’t good.

Should I hit the escape button? Unplug the USB? I couldn’t do it. I had to see, had to remember.

As the door slowly opened I walked inside the dusty old one-room cabin. My heart raced harder, my breathing quickened, my eyes widened in shock and fear………

~~~~


Time’s up. How will this story end? I don’t know. How would you write the ending to this bit of flash fiction?