Later on in the conversation


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Posted on December 24, 2012 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I've been at this a little while. A little over two years.

I'm wrapping up my blogging like a present covered with red paper and a white bow.

Put it under your Christmas tree if you can figure out how.

Hope you are well TODAY!

Matthias Hoefler

NaNoWriMo: word slammed

Posted on December 11, 2012 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (2)


I  won NaNoWriMo this year. Had some time on my hands, so I went for 80,000 words and made it.

I let it "cool" for six months and decided it was worth editing. It's my first book, and as of 7/14, I'm still editing it. If you're really that bored, you can see my blog where I chronicle this editing. Toward the middle or so I begin sharing a little more of the actual story. I started that blog just so I could keep track of my progress, but couple people actually started reading it. I didn't expect that. I looked at someone else's blog who was chronicling her work, and it just was so uninteresting to hear her dryly talk about characters and situations I wasn't invested in. For that reason, I had no thought my editing-the-book blog would be read by anyone but myself. I began to take this audience into account.

I talk about the up times and the down times. The down times I seem to have a lot of, but I plug on in spite of them, only God knows why.

Which that's actually the book's title. Something like that, anyway. For the Love of God. Read it for yourself, if you like!

Teach Me How to Dougie

Posted on November 25, 2012 at 7:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Dear Diary,

I wish Cynthia Kereluk could teach me how to dougie:

"Now you bend your legs like this, but take care! See that the knee joint does not come over the toe."

"Best posture possible. Work forward and back."

"Almost finished! Work hard!"

Tee-tee-tee-teach me how to dougie. Tee-tee-teach me how to dougie.


Posted on October 29, 2012 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

I am hitching my star to the illustrious "NaNoWriMo" this year. Heard about it before. This is the first year I'm going to try it. It starts November 1st. If you are a writer, it may be of interest to you.

I'm excited! It's going to be a lot of work, but it'll be quite an experience, I'm sure.

So I say that to say I probably won't post to my blog for a month or so. Maybe little updates or things I need to share about it, but that's probably it.

Use the time you would normally use reading this blog to finish that quilt you're making. Or to build a box castle.

Be well.

Before you start writing

Posted on October 27, 2012 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)


If you're like me, you learned to write down your thoughts on paper, then go back through once or twice to get all the spelling right. That was that. You turned in your paper, which was (nearly all of it) the same content expressed in your first draft.


Maybe in college you tinkered with the content of your writing a little more. Maybe you didn't.



In the 90s (it may so be yet today), elementary ed. teachers were teaching writing as a process. Here is the beginning of that process: pre-writing.




Some people suggest 70% (I've even read someone saying 85%) of your time should be taken up by pre-writing.




You're not going to win NoNoWriteGo at that rate. But a certain quality of thought should show if you move more toward process writing.




Start by choosing a topic. What are you going to write about? Maybe a question or two that mean something to you - questions you haven't got answers for, entirely, yet you are invested in them all the same.


There's some good reading on topic here. Don't skip this website because "topic" seems too basic. The short page is more than worth your time.





Next decide the purpose of the piece. Is it to entertain? To enlighten? Persuade? You may have to doodle around a bit to know where you want to go with this.


Now consider your audience. You may write for yourself, or to peers, parents, other authors and so on.


What form best fits your purpose? We almost always use a document these days, but you also might make ABC book(s), brochures, charts, lab reports, or jokes. Any of these can be narrative. I saw a list of canceled checks that were made to tell a story. It was clever and it worked.


Especially consider an alternate form if you're sending the piece to a magazine or journal that takes submissions through snail mail.



The next section is the fun part: Gathering and organizing your ideas.



Pre-writing can be considered a warm up. You stretch your mind-muscles by reading, or do a quick write (dash off a couple / three pages written at breakneck speed). Make bubble diagrams, or web diagrams (sometimes called "clustering." This is better than creating an outline, at least at first, because the connections are nonlinear.) You can run your ideas by someone. Role-playing is another possibility. You can draw (especially if young children are moving through the process writing, but I've found sketching helpful enough to consider doing regularly. Ideas occur to me as I draw that didn't otherwise. Not that I'm a great artist. You don't have to be.)


I suppose this is enough for now. If you'd like more information about pre-writing, there's probably more than you need here.


You might also try this site.


or here.



If you want to learn the next stage of process writing, you might start with this site.




The bulk of this post comes from the language arts book listed below.






Tompkins, Gail E. and Kenneth Hoskisson. (1995). Language Arts Content and Teaching Strategies. Prentice-Hall, Inc. United States of America.



Starting your writers' group

Posted on September 28, 2012 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I tried to get a writers' group off the ground recently, so I took some notes from around the web. My group didn't work out, but maybe you can benefit from the research I did.

Be clear from the beginning about the structure of your meetings

Will you read your writing out loud, and will everyone give feedback? (You might make feedback optional, if the author would rather not take any feedback for a particular piece.) Will you email your story, article pitch, or book proposal to each other before the meeting? Will you write during your meetings (that wouldn’t work for me – but it may be appealing to writers who struggle with motivation or time to write)? Will you brainstorm story ideas or wrestle with plot problems?

If you meet every two weeks, you could alternate between a critique night and a “just talking about writing” night.

Re-evaluate your writing group regularly. Agree on the guidelines for your writer’s group, and then re-evaluate after a season – such as every quarter or every September.

The above ideas were harvested here.

You might try learning about cooperative learning as a way of structuring your group. I thought of that because that last section talks about re-evaluating your group. Here is a brief introduction to cooperative learning, and here is a very long web page about it.


This next section came from here.

Contact someone in charge to ask about the possibility of having a writer's group meet on site. Most places are happy to oblige. Common places to find writers' clubs include libraries, bookstores, and college campuses. After receiving permission to hold meetings at a particular site, choose a date and time for the first meeting.  

For starters, invite each writer in attendance to give a brief introduction and determine what day of the week and time are best for ongoing meetings.

One way to build numbers is to present a program at each meeting. Ask a local newspaper columnist to speak or get in touch with a regional writer. Having a "name" entertainment or program can gain interest and bring more members.

Create an online group in conjunction with the physical one. Many sites offer free groups. Yahoo is one of these. This will allow members to stay in touch between meetings and also allow anyone who can't attend meetings due to schedule conflicts a way to belong as well.


This last bit is from here.

Reading complete works aloud is not a good way to spend time (unless it’s a poetry group). Take-home critiques are the way to go.

There you have it. May you have a happy group writing experience. 


Frame narrative

Posted on September 21, 2012 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (4)


Before we start, I want to get one thing straight. Zoetrope is a great place to have your work critiqued if you are a writer. There are also possibilities if you are interested in film.

Okay then. There is a tool called a "frame story" or "frame narrative." A (relatively) simple example of this would feature a narrator telling the beginning of a story, and then the rest of it is in third person.


Wikipedia suggests the function of this "frame story" or "frame narrative" (to act as) a literary technique that sometimes serves as a companion piece to a story within a story, whereby an introductory or main narrative is presented, at least in part, for the purpose of setting the stage either for a more emphasized second narrative or for a set of shorter stories. The frame story leads readers from a first story into another, smaller one (or several ones) within it."


Yet another take on the purpose of this device.


Pilgrim's Progress demonstrates this. The narrator gives some introductory material, and then shares a dream he had.


I also see this frame narrative in the short short story, "How Old Timofei Died Singing," by Rainer Maria Rilke. It features a man telling a story to a disabled friend of his. In this story the narrative is book ended by the first person perspective: It begins with the narrator telling us he likes telling stories to lame people because they are more attentive, and it ends with his lame friend asking him a question about how the people in the story turned out.


Some other examples, courtesy of Wikipedia: 


"An early example of the frame story is The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, in which the character Scheherazade narrates a set of fairy tales to the Sultan Shahriyar over many nights. Many of Scheherazade's tales are also frame stories, such as Tale of Sindbad the Seaman and  Sindbad the Landsman, a collection of adventures related by Sindbad the Seaman to Sindbad the Landsman."


A few more examples: Ovid's Metamorphoses, Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.


"In Mary Shelley's work, the form echoes in structure the thematic search in the story for something deep, dark, and secret at the heart of the narrative. The form thus also resembles the psychoanalytic process of uncovering the unconscious behind various levels of repressive, obfuscating narratives put in place by the conscious mind. As is often the case (and Shelley's work is no exception), a different individual often narrates the events of a story in each frame."  

A little more on the subject.


If you're interested in writing with this approach, here is a "how to:"


Yeah, so check out My work here is finished.




Posted on September 10, 2012 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Warning. This post is super long.

I have been in Matthew 6 for some weeks now. I'm reading the section that starts 

Matt 6:7 And when you pray, do not heap up phrases (multiply words, repeating the same ones over and over) as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard for their much speaking. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him (AMP).


Then Jesus gave them the so called "Lord's" Prayer. I skip down to 



25 Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing? (AMP)

The thing I like about Matthew 6 is Jesus gives the antidote for this type of anxiety. He redirects us, reshaping our focus.

33 But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides (AMP).

King James might be clearer here.

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Some translations read "goodness" instead of "righteousness."

We need many things, but as it says above, "Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him."

This sort of abandonment of seeking things (not to mention all our lesser anxieties) is not about expecting someone else to pay for what you need, or being lazy. It's about an "attitude of caring," according to Charles Haun. He quoted Peter.

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you (KJV).

Charles Haun preferred the King James in this case. It reads "care," rather than "cares." "Cast all your care..." It's not just a matter of telling God everything you're upset about. Your care, your "attitude of caring," can be rolled onto Him.

The Amplified backs up Charles Haun's reading of this verse:

7 Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.

"Once and for all."

After studying all this out, I found I needed shoes. I caught myself telling the Lord several times that I needed to buy a pair of new shoes. It seemed to me I was going against what I was learning about in Matthew 6. The reason I even bothered praying about buying shoes is I don't have very much energy at all. Sometimes I can only pull off a single outing in a week's time. So the trouble was getting to a place where I could get what I needed without wasting a lot of time. Grocery shopping at WalMart was out of the picture, because my dad told me he got a pair of shoes there and they ended up being garbage.

Turns out, only a few days later, my gf needed a gift for a wedding we were going to. We went into Kohl's, and while there, I found a pair of tennis shoes I was pleased with.

Not only that. I just started AT&T Internet service a couple weeks before that. I had problems with it, and they sent me a $100 gift card. So not only did an opportunity to shoe shop open up. I also already had what I needed financially to get them, and that during a pretty tight month.

May he continue to train us and teach us his ways.

God is love.

The creative wow

Posted on August 27, 2012 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

I have learned a little about the creative process. It seems to me you have to do the rank and file work everyday, staying at it patiently. If you wait for inspiration to strike, you may never produce anything, for all I know.

For me, this creative blast comes seldom. In high school, I did a great many paintings. Some of them I labored over for months. Then one day an idea hit me in the morning. I started the piece that morning and finished it before the end of the day. It went on to win an award in the Governor's Art Exhibition. They chose the piece out of thousands of entries. It made it into the top three hundred, so it was showcased in Columbus. An example of what I'm calling the "creative burst."

I know of a circle where a great deal of value is put on this creative burst. They have a fascination with the idea that God himself breathed through the artist. As though the piece were absolutely celestial just because it came to the artist start to finish in a ridiculously short amount of time. The writing of Handel's Messiah was like that. According to Wikipedia, it took just twenty-four days.

But I'm not so sure that's the best focus, celebrating this piece that flowed out of the artist so easily. It may just be the way the creative process rolls. I think of it this way: you pay your dues, and eventually something really beautiful spreads itself across the page.

“When the creative impulse sweeps over you, grab it. You grab it and honor it and use it, because momentum is a rare gift.”

― Justina Chen Headley, North of Beautiful

A rare gift indeed. But the preparation for it to happen is lengthy and sometimes laborious.


Posted on August 13, 2012 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Counterpoint. I have only done a handful of these, so I'm far from expert. I bring it up because I found it  challenging. Maybe you will, too.

Here is a great intro, as far as I'm concerned. He or she gives you some "bass lines" to build a "melody" line over (very difficult to explain, since both lines have melody aspects to them.) And hey, value for your money (Since it's free.)

This explanation is much clearer than the one on Wiki, but Wiki gets into writing more than two lines together.

I looked around a little more for something to share with you, but this is all I found.

God sanctioned lies?

Posted on August 6, 2012 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

The Lord takes lying seriously.

Lev 6:1-6 “...if he has found something lost and lies about it...he must return what he stole or extorted, ...He must make full compensation, add twenty percent to it, and hand it over to the owner on the same day he brings his Compensation-Offering. He must present to God as his Compensation-Offering a ram without any defect from the flock, assessed at the value of a Compensation-Offering. 7 "Thus the priest will make atonement for him before God and he's forgiven of any of the things that one does that bring guilt (MESS)."

Restoration. Justice. Maybe often it's not too late to make things right. In the biblical text the liar must get right both with God and man, by bringing to the man what he lied about or stole. Plus twenty percent more than he took. And then the ram is to make things right with God.

Prov 6:19 “Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion: eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies...(ibid.)

Rev21:27 “...all habitual liars forfeit eternal salvation (New Bible Dictionary).”

Lying as a habit carries serious consequences and is hated by God. The larger picture is that without Christ, we forfeit eternal salvation in any case. Regardless of what a "good person" we are. Excuse the detour. What I'm trying to make a case for is that God has strong feelings about lying.

Yet here it seems God doesn't just sanction a lie. He tells Samuel how to lie:

1 Sam 16:1-3 "God addressed Samuel: "So, how long are you going to mope over Saul? You know I've rejected him as king over Israel. Fill your flask with anointing oil and get going...2-3 "I can't do that," said Samuel. "Saul will hear about it and kill me." God said, "Take a heifer with you and announce, 'I've come to lead you in worship of God, with this heifer as a sacrifice.' ...I'll let you know what to do next. I'll point out the one you are to anoint (MESS) ."


The New Bible Dictionary says this passage “...does not justify the expedient lie. God merely suggested an ostensible reason for Samuel's visit to Bethlehem, and the prophet was under no obligation to divulge his real purpose (NBD).” Sounds like a lie to me, maybe a white lie, but a lie all the same.


Another puzzling verse that I can't find right now shows Jesus telling some people that he is not going to a certain festival, but then he does so privately. A lie? Of course Jesus never lied! We say. The verse is difficult no matter how we see it. I really wish I could find it, because with the last verse I quoted, it puts the question I wanted to ask.

If you know which verse I'm talking about, maybe you can put it in the comments.

My point is that God has strong feelings about lying. We could stop there, but I think it is necessary to look deeper.


Blues aab form and abc

Posted on July 23, 2012 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)

I was only familiar with the aab form of the blues. Each letter represents four measures. So you might have heard Jimi Hendrix sing

I might as well go on back down, go back 'cross yonder over the hill.

I might as well go back over yonder way back yonder 'cross the hill, (That's where I come from)

'Cos if my baby don't love me no more, I know her sister will!

Note that for the most part the first two sentences are the same. These are shown as being the letter "a" above. The last line is different, a punchline with different wording than the first two sentences. This difference is represented by the letter "b" as written above.

If you rather get schooled by a class of second graders wielding autoharps, then by all means, avail yourself of the opportunity.

There is also the aaa form. I'm not going to say anything else about that, but you can hear a good example here.

What I wanted to draw your attention to is the possibility of the form being abc. Here each group of four measures is different from the others. It might sound like Charlie Parker is starting with a solo, but that's not the case. Here's another from Parker, same set up: abc form. I can't decide if I find the animated score annoying or engaging. I guess if I have to think about it in order to decide, that pretty well says it all...