NOT OUR FIRST DATE

IT’S OUR BLOGAVERSARY!

Let's leave out the part that people skip.

Let’s leave out the parts that people skip.

that being said, HERE’S OUR FIRST POST ~ 4/20/2010  ~ :)

Today we’re starting our blog. For years we’ve sipped great coffee, nibbled tasty treats, talked through the life dramas, and read our writing to each other. Frequently we’ve had a silent partner in all this: Ted Kooser, Jane Yolen, Lary Bloom, Art Plotnik, Anne Lamott. We’ve read their books about writing and let their wise words inspire us. This blog is going to be another silent partner we think, but right now getting going with it is a bit like trying to get clear, cool water from the faucet. We need to run the water for a while to swish out whatever’s been lodging along the old pipes. Sometimes those pipes clank and the water sputters. Sometimes we curse and talk about whether or not the plumbing’s ever going to be right. And then it happens. Luscious, clean, boy-is-this-well-good-or-what water. That’s the way it will be with our fussing with a writing blog. Just keep the tap on we’ve decided. It’ll come.

AND COME IT HAS.

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Words We Women Write was born out of, well, unbridled curiosity and wonder.

The adventure of uncertainty lured us in.  (That, and there was nowhere else we needed to be.)

Now, four years later, we’ve birthed two more ~

Click here to read Patty’s middle-grade novel blog, Isabel the Storyteller.

Click here to read Toni’s poetry blog, mental crumbs ~ in love with carbs and poetry.

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Having awesome site stats means never having to wear plastic glasses.

We still fuss with the plumbing.  The Apple geniuses help us tinker, WordPress Happiness Engineers make the irreversible reversible.

And Readers, you are why we’re still having a good time, all the time. Thanks for coming.

8141038430_ff2776c2c5patty and toni  4/29/14

DAILY PROMPT: HEAR NO EVIL

WP Krista saysTell us about a conversation you couldn’t help but overhear and wish you hadn’t.

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I’m in Target, with hordes of shoppers, when I overhear yet another cell phone conversation.  The teenager in the next aisle begins to talk Louder.  And Higher.  And Faster.  Every few words are punctuated with Nope-No Way-Not Happenin’-That’s So Lame.  Oh, and the ever-so-demure I Don’t Give A Rat’s @## !

Seems this sweet young thing is a bridesmaid and her Bridezilla is demanding the unthinkable.

“I DON’T CARE, I WILL NOT WALK DOWN THE AISLE WITH YOUR DAMN DOG!”

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I’m told that it’s not unusual to have a dog in the wedding party these days. WP Blogger Krista suggests it’s ideal fodder for a post/story. She’s probably right. But as it stands, this ‘story’ is just an anecdote, something to tell at parties or in waiting rooms full of strangers talking on their cell phones. To become a full-fledged story, it needs characters, motivation, and specific details ~ and that’s just for starters.  Jane Yolen says that anecdotes are not fiction by themselves. They need the sandpaper touch of art.

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Jean Parker Shepard knew that.  He sandpapered a ton of anecdotes from his childhood and artfully polished them into my favorite holiday flick, A Christmas Story. And my all-time favorite Christmas Broadway play of the same name.  I love it ~ a young boy’s longing for a Daisy Red Ryder 200 Shot Carbine Action BB Air Rifle…

You’ll poke your eye out, Ralphie!

Shepard combined fact and fiction with skill. The childhood friends in his stories were people he claimed to have invented, yet high school yearbooks show that many of them did exist. Shepherd always referred to his father as “my old man.” And, in the movie, the distinctive voice of the narrator — the grown-up Ralphie — is none other than the story’s author, Jean Shepherd.

Jane Yolen and Jean Shepard ~  stories just leak out of their fingertips.  I’m thinking the lesson here is to be on the lookout for that ordinary stuff that shows up while you lead your ordinary life.

What happens next, Bridesmaids?

If/when you help me answer that question, I might just find my story.

Toni  12/3/13

 

TWO YEARS AND A TITANIC TUB OF WORDS

And in the beginning was the Word……

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Flash Back : April 2010

Today we start our blog. For years we’ve met as a group, sipped coffee, nibbled tasty treats, talked through life’s dramas, and read our writing to each other. Frequently we have a silent partner in all this: Ted Kooser, Jane Yolen, Lary Bloom, Art Plotnik, Wordnik of The Day. We read their books about writing and let their wise words inspire us. This blog is going to be another silent partner, we think, but right now getting it going is a bit like trying to get clear, cool water from the faucet. We need to run the water for a while to swish out whatever’s been lodging along the old pipes. Sometimes those pipes clank and the water sputters. Sometimes we curse and talk about whether or not the plumbing’s ever going to be right. And then it happens. Luscious, clean, boy-is-this-well-good-or-what water. That’s the way it will be, this fussing with a writing blog. Just keep the tap on we’ve decided. It’ll come.

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Patty and I sit at a table in the Apple store, and various Mac Geniuses tutor us in how to set up the blog. For several hours we get pointers, run with them, hit a speed bump, sink into that uh-oh-we’ll-never-get-this funk, and then plow ahead ~ again ~ after another quick tip from a passing Genius. There are tons of things the Geniuses can teach us, but they zero in on That One Exact Skill we need next.

 
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Flash forward.  April 2012.

 
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It’s almost time to celebrate our Second Blogaversary. We’ve come a long way, baby.  Actually, we’ve come a dirty huge way.  And still, we go to the Apple store, sit at the the happy-go-larky project table and schmooze with the drive-by Genius who continues to feed us what we need next. There’s a continental-shelf-sized Skills-We-Need list, an infinite goozle of things to learn and, lucky us, a mother lode of time for us to learn it all.

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So, the tap is on. The water flows. The words come.

Readers, we’re glad you’re here.  Second Mad-Glamorous Blogaversary ahead ~ our cup-runneth over-ish, do celebrate with us.  But how?  Send us your Superbissimo Idea.  Who knows where it might lead.  Wink. Wink.

Toni 3/6/12

WART’S NEW? A FROG DAY AFTERNOON

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Books pile up. Collect. Gather. Grow. Overflow. Mine hang out on shelves, counters, mantles, desks, pedestals, ledges and tables. Some huddle in crannies and cupboards. Others lean and loaf around beds and bureaus, couches and chairs, sofas and sideboards. Let’s say, I have an ample supply. Today I sort, order, straighten, shuffle, tidy ~ clear the decks, so to speak.

 

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WWWW is always on the hunt for a book that we can read together. One that will nudge us along as we write novels, articles, poems, ad copy, blogs and yes, even, emails.  We’re pretty fussy, though.  Not any book will do.  It has to surprise us, have personality, be a little edgy and totally engaging.  We aren’t looking for the writing-as-usual, dead-on-arrival guidebook. It’s got to have umami-like deliciousness. Art Plotnik’s books make us smile, set us free and leave us begging for more. We want frank, fun writing ~ not writing exercises. That means the book needs to be a punchy and irreverent read, rooted in object lessons that energize and liberate our words.

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….still waiting…

 

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We like books that offer practical advice, like Jane Yolen’s book for writers.  She says to learn to write, not with blood and fear, but with Joy. She is so smart. Please yourself, then get ready for the happy accident of your own writing – be illuminated, changed and charged by what you discover.

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And then there’s Ralph Fletcher, a writer/teacher for kids of all ages. An ordinary guy who likes to write. And he reveals The Secret of Writing. It’s this ~ there is no secret. Surprised?  I thought not.  But there is a process, definite steps that help shape the work. Write one word. Then another.

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So here’s a list of my books about writing by writers that I own, read, recommend, lend and get a charge out of.  What’s your on your shelf? Tell us. It’s good to share.

Book Shelf 1 This Book Shelf Says All Books Should be Treated Equally


Books about Writing by Writers

Before We Get Started: A Practical Memoir of the Writer’s Life by Bret Lott

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

A Dangerous Profession: A Book About the Writing Life by Frederick Busch

Escaping into the Open: The Art of Writing True by Elizabeth Berg

The Faith of a Writer: Life, Craft, Art by Joyce Carol Oates

Herself: Reflections on a Writing Life by Madeleine L’Engle

How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author by Janet Evanovich

The Joy of Writing: A Guide for Writers, Disguised as a Literary Memoir by Pierre Berton

Like Shaking Hands With God: A Conversation About Writing with Kurt Vonnegut & Lee Stringer

Making a Literary Life: Advice for Writers and Other Dreamers by Carolyn See

Negotiating With the Dead: A Writer on Writing by Margaret Atwood

On Writing by Stephen King

One Writer’s Beginnings by Eudora Welty

Remembered Rapture: The Writer at Work by Bell Hooks

Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir by Tony Hillerman

Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life by Terry Brooks

The Spirit of Writing: Classic and Contemporary Essays Celebrating the Writing Life edited by Mark Robert Waldman

The Spooky Art: Some Thoughts on Writing by Norman Mailer

Surviving a Writer’s Life by Suzanne Lipsett

Voice Lessons: On Becoming a (Woman) Writer by Nancy Mairs

Why I Write: Thoughts on the Craft of Fiction edited by Will Blythe

Women of Words: A Personal Introduction to 35 Important Writers edited by Janet Bukovinsky

Words Still Count With Me: A Chronicle of Literary Conversations by Herbert Mitgang

Write Away: One Novelist’s Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life by Elizabeth George

Writers Dreaming; Writers Talk About Their Dreams and the Creative Process by Naomi Epel

The Writer’s Home Companion: An Anthology of the World’s Best Writing Advice, from Keats to Kunitz edited by Joan Bolker, Ed.D.

The Writer’s Mentor: Secrets of Success from the World’s Greatest Writers edited by Ian Jackman

Writing Alone and With Others by Pat Schneider

Writing From the Heart: Tapping the Power of Your Inner Voice by Nancy Slonim Aronie

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

Writing Lives: Conversations Between Women Writers edited by Mary Chamberlain

Writing Was Everything by Alfred Kazin

Zen and the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbur

Next time ~ Books About Writing Well



Ahhhh.

Toni 6/14/11

WRITING ~ IT AIN’T NO TEA PARTY: The Mini-series, with Author-inspired Tunes ~ Part 3

Part 3

The Writers: Authors who create work greater than themselves

The Lesson: Read and write and read and write and read and write.

Read everything, write all the time. Sit in a chair and drub out the words.

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A good story is made up of a logical beginning, a bumpy middle and a satisfying end.

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The Beginning is a mere set up.

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Marley was dead : to begin with.

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Who is he?  How did he die? So begins this ghostly little book.

The mystery pulls me in but the story makes me stay.

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As for Middles ~ Jane Yolen says, “For some writers, they just seem to serve as a bridge between a sterling beginning and a smash ending.  I say – just tell the damn story, and be done with it.”  I like Middles.  That’s where things happen, characters talk, and the backstory weaves its magic.

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Ah, those Endings. Inevitable. Surprising. No matter how the writer gets me there, I want the payoff promised in the first line. It’s all about the eucatastrophe. That’s J. R. R. Tolkien’s word. He coined it to name the sudden turn of events at the end of a story that result in the protagonist‘s well-being.  (The prefix eu is Greek, meaning good.) A peculiar quality of joy.

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Elvis Costello is a noted master of word-play. He writes songs and collectable, literary letters. In an interview, Costello says they’re really not collectible and he doesn’t write many, anyhow. He might be referring to the letter he wrote to the British Rail to tell them “how crappy they are.” They booked him into a non-smoking car which was full of smoke because, in one half of the car, smoking was allowed.  “I said it was dishonest,” he huffs. “Smoke can’t read.”

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Costello wrote Everyday I Write the Book in ten minutes. It’s just a simple song in a Merseybeat.  It’s a good story. Beginning. Middle. End. That’s Life.  What else is there to write about?

Toni 6/7/11

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The music video is a classic MTV hit.

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Spin a platter, sing along with Elvis ~

Click here 8343# , then open the player, top right, on Costello’s website to play the record

Don’t tell me you don’t know what love is

When you’re old enough to know better

When you find strange hands in your sweater

When your dreamboat turns out to be a footnote

I’m a man with a mission in two or three editions

*

And I’m giving you a longing look

Everyday, everyday, everyday I write the book

*

Chapter One we didn’t really get along

Chapter Two I think I fell in love with you

You said you’d stand by me in the middle of Chapter Three

But you were up to your old tricks in Chapters Four, Five and Six

*

And I’m giving you a longing look

Everyday, everyday, everyday I write the book

*

The way you walk

The way you talk, and try to kiss me, and laugh

In four or five paragraphs

All your compliments and your cutting remarks

Are captured here in my quotation marks

*

And I’m giving you a longing look

Everyday, everyday, everyday I write the book

*

Don’t tell me you don’t know the difference

Between a lover and a fighter

With my pen and my electric typewriter

Even in a perfect world where everyone was equal

I’d still own the film rights and be working on the sequel

*

And I’m giving you a longing look

Everyday, everyday, everyday I write the book