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Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Whine w.c. 847

Christmas Whine w.c. 847

It’s that time of year again. My calendar is full. Besides working four days a week at the nursing home, and occasionally picking up an extra shift for someone needing the day off, I have art club meetings, Community Pride meetings, Christmas gatherings, family shopping trips, doctor appointments, and enough housework to last a lifetime. My dog even has a doctor’s appointment next week, for Pete’s Sake! When is a person supposed to find time to write?

I can only blame myself. I have always had a problem saying “no.” I have gotten a little better at it, in recent years, mainly because of my health issues, but that doesn’t stop everyone from asking. When I’m really exhausted, I’m not as easily talked into doing things around town, but when I’m feeling good, I forget that I do have physical limitations and end up volunteering for all sorts of things. I know I’m not the only one that does this, either, because I’ve heard neighbors and family complaining of the same problem.

I do enjoy helping out at the community level. I believe it is important to help your town, and your neighbors in time of need. Small towns are in danger, and many are actually dying because of the economic situation. Volunteers are desperately needed to assist with celebrations, promotions, and community projects.

On Saturday, December 11, we are planning a Christmas project in our town. We plan to have Santa Claus make a visit, and have a photographer lined up to take pictures of all the kiddies sitting on Santa’s lap (one at a time, of course). There will be a shopping section, where the kids can shop for Christmas gifts for their parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. Gifts donated by the community will be available ranging in price from 25 cents to $6 in price. Volunteers will assist the young ones in finding the perfect gift for their loved ones, wrapping their purchases, and handling the money. There will be drawings for prizes toward the end of the day. Volunteers are selling raffle tickets toward the drawings.

Volunteers will also be assisting with handing out goody bags with candy, popcorn and peanuts. Some will be helping set up for the event, and many will be available for the cleanup brigade. It will be a busy, but hopefully rewarding time for all.

Writing has become a large part of my life. I recently completed the F2K course for the second time in Writer’s Village University. It was so much fun that I signed up for the next session beginning in January. I haven’t written for the local newspaper much in recent times, but would like to get back into that, as well. I have eleven chapters written in my Young Adult novel, DOOR IN TIME, and hope to get a few more done before year’s end.

I recently purchased a t-shirt that reads, “Be careful or you might end up in my novel.” That fits the way my book has been written. I fashion some of my characters after people I know. Not completely, but enough that the personalities might be recognized by someone close to the model.

Experimenting with writing styles has been entertaining for me lately. Usually, I take a sentence out of the blue, and just start writing, letting the words flow out of my mind as if I am watching a movie. No outline, no pre-plotting of any kind. Often my short flash fiction stories are written in this way. I love doing that.

A novel, however, needs a little more direction and framework in order to keep on course. I still write by the seat of my pants to a certain extent. Nothing is pre-outlined, other than having a vague idea of what direction I want it to go for each chapter. I post each chapter in my study group at WVU, and the excellent critiques, or nits, as we call them, are printed out and saved in a file for when I have completed my story and am ready to do rewrites.

Poetry is another area where I usually just write on impulse. I prefer rhyming poetry to free verse, just a personal preference. If I have a problem with this free-style writing, it is in ending a piece. I could just go on writing forever, as is evidence by this blog. Be quiet, Benning, I know I’m bloviating, as O’Reilly would say.

Ok, so I’m through complaining. Now, I need to finish this, and get back to my novel. So, I need a snappy ending, right? That is the challenging part for me. I need a punch line. None seems to be jumping out at me. So, I will use a quote. That often works.

I can only hope that my situation will be better than Robert Benchley’s, when he said, “It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.”

I’ll keep writing. Maybe someday I’ll be famous, too.

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