Meeting Up With The Villain

One of my favorite writing coaches is Steven Pressfield, author of War of Art. His Wednesday blog: Writing Wednesday is consistently worth my time. Today he writes about Elements of a Great Villain, both the external ones and the internal ones in great stories. “What qualities do these Hall of Fame antagonists have in common? They cannot be reasoned with (Okay, the Furies did have a bit of a soft spot). They cannot be appealed to on the basis of justice, fair play, or the idea of right and wrong. They are internally, relentlessly driven to achieve their ends. Nothing can stop them except … Continue reading

What’s Your Story?

I’m attending a 4 part advocacy training through the Friends Committee on National Legislation. My motivation is to join others in lobbying for public interest during these dark and difficult times. I also need to learn some basic skills that will make me more effective when advocating for human rights. Guess what the first lesson in advocacy is?: “As a grassroots lobbyist, your power is in your story.” I felt right at home among these strangers, both in our collective motivation to make a difference and in the opportunity to “flesh out my story.”  Through story “we can form a relationships based on … Continue reading

FREEDOM Right In On Time

It’s freedom we truly want. And fear. Freedom from attachment, freedom from anxiety, freedom from bad relationships, freedom from our habitual and negative states. We want freedom to create, to love, to speak up, and to be ourselves. We were born free. Yet, dependent. Those who raised us either trained us toward freedom or toward an increased dependency on establishing our worth and self-hood on outward validation. We all experience suffering; this is the core teachings of the Buddha: We suffer but there is freedom from suffering. (The Four Noble Truths). We have the capacity to bring forth lasting states … Continue reading

A Bridge Over Troubled Water

One of my teaching themes for you writers is to help you write what’s meaningful to you, and to make your work meaningful to the reader. I invite you to first write for yourself, with some consciousness around what you want to get out of writing any given piece. A writing prompt that I give my writers (and you, now) is to first make a list of pivotal moments (flashbacks, scenes, or memories). This list can be related to a project; a theme or subject you are writing on. If you are writing fiction, your pivotal moments can become helpful in … Continue reading

Half Way There

I got half way in the (possibly, hopefully) final draft of my debut novel. I set myself up at Barriques in Middleton last night again, where one other writer joined me to write. My manuscript is 400 pages long. So, around 7:45 last night I reached my half way point. Did you feel some shift in your world around that time? No? Me neither. It’s good to mark such places in our writing and life though — feel some sense of accomplishment. Of course, there’s those coming 200 pages I have to rewrite my way through, and make captivating as I do. … Continue reading

What You See Is What You Get

“The way you look at things is the most powerful force in shaping your life. In a vital sense, perception is reality.”  John O’donahue, Anam Cara We writers and spiritual pilgrims are world builders, shape shifters; we make heroes, and, we identify and fight villains. We can be the hero in our own lives and stories. We discover personal truth where ever we are courageous enough to explore; we can consider any possibility. We can risk everything or risk nothing. Over the past few weeks I have heard a certain reference multiple times: We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are … Continue reading

The Two Wells

How Everything Has A Place I take my blind dog out under the white and pink blossomed apple tree to brush her. She groans as hair falls from her old body into soft golden piles in the greening spring grass. Just moments before how I worried about where I would be a season from now. Where might I live and who will share my days? She rolls around, such a happy dog Her golden hair remains behind an invitation to the birds now collecting in the trees take me use me to build your nest. I don’t enjoy worrying or obsessing about what … Continue reading

Because I Love You

“To her- Hand in hand we come Christopher Robin and I To lay this book in your lap. Say you’re surprised? Say you like it? Say it’s just what you wanted? Because it’s yours- because we love you.” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh   “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”  Neil Gaiman, Coraline   “Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.”  Neil Gaiman     “Who was the guy who first looked … Continue reading

The In-between Places

A friend recently commented that she envied me: “You’re at such a spiritually rich time.” She was referring to this “in-between place” I am in. I have had other times in my life that I consider spiritually fertile, where uncertainty was abundant.  In truth, I’m glad to be on the other side of those spiritually rich and uncertain times. Like putting down a good book. I enjoyed the suspense and time while reading, then, felt satisfied when done. I will be happy to be on the other side of this time of uncertainty and spiritual fertility as well. But she has a point. The suspense of uncertainty … Continue reading

The Sweet Wisdom of Getting There from Here

I met Angeline a few years back when she attended my class at Write-By-The-Lake. She was working on a collection of her poems and essays, which are now a book, titled Sweet Wisdoms. She is sweet, strong, and full of wisdom. Angeline is today’s guest blogger, enjoy. You Can Get There from Here     by Angeline Haen On life’s map, my point of beginning as a writer wasn’t exactly a red dot with an arrow pointed at it and the words “YOU ARE A WRITER”. It was more like a red wild scribble with the words “FOLLOW ME”. Growing up, cathartic … Continue reading