Inside the soul of a writer

Monthly Archives: April 2013

I truly did not get the reasons that writing worked for me and my personality so well until the other day. I’ve been using a journal to work through some things and managed to fill it in just over a month. I read this quote in my writing inspiration book by Jonathan Franzen.

“The place of stillness that you have to go to write, but also to read seriously, is the point where you can actually make responsible decisions, where you can actually engage productively with an otherwise scary and unmanageable world.”

Ding, ding, ding! Wow! A light bulb came on in my head when I read that statement. This is what writing does for me–whether I’m writing stories or whether I’m writing in my journal. It doesn’t matter. Putting words together helps me make sense of the world and my place in it. I believe the same is also true of my older son who is starting to follow in my footsteps.

For those of you who don’t write, remember to give the writers in your life that place of stillness. You might be surprised at what they come up with.

Until next time, be real!


This book is the first non-fiction book I have reviewed, and I’m not sure I can give it justice, but the message of A New American Space Plan by Travis S. Taylor with Stephanie Osborn is so important that I am going to try.

As the title states, the main message of the book is talking about what it’s going to take to get America back into space. The authors discuss the history of the space program from its very beginnings to where we are now and discuss the scientific discoveries the space program has made possible.  Taylor also talks about his experiences on The Rocket City Rednecks television show and how some of the builds they did were similar to what needs to be done to get back into space.  What I especially liked was that they made the science understandable to a layman. If you have any interest in where America’s space program has been and where it could go, I would heartily recommend this book.



Before I went to my first science fiction/fantasy festival last year, I had never met a published author in person. I had this vision of what authors do all day which turned out to be nothing close to accurate. 🙂  They’re normal people just like the rest of us who do normal things although some of what they do as authors could be considered odd. Here is a quote by Mark Salzman as an example.

“Writing is an ideal occupation if you’re a rabbit. It gives you an excuse to stay in your burrow all day, and it allows you to explore problems like anguish and insecurity without having to solve them. You don’t need to have peace of mind to be a writer; in fact, the more troubled you feel, the more you have to write about.”

So, all the things that could be considered normal are all things that a writer could put his stamp on and make it interesting for other people to read. I hope in some small way that I’ve been able to do that with these blog posts.

Until next time, be real!

I have always loved books from the earliest time I can remember. During my childhood, my allowance usually went to buying the latest Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Bobbsey Twins books, or one of the Little House on the Prairie books. I’m sure there were many more books I bought. Those particular series are just the ones I remember the most. 

When I got to middle school, my reading interests started to diverge, and I became interested in science fiction and fantasy books reading such great authors as Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, C.S. Lewis, Anne McCaffrey, George Orwell, and Andre Norton among many others. One particular book I read in the seventh grade was a book by Andre Norton called Dark Piper. It had a tremendous influence on me and lead me to begin writing stories, some of which would properly be termed fan fiction today. 

In recent years, I have been finding some of these books at the library and rereading them and remembering what made me fall in love with them in the first place. I read several other books by Andre Norton, but had not been able to find the book I had so fallen in love with in the seventh grade. Every indication was that it was out of print.  I decided to check again about a month or so back and low and behold, it had been released as an e-book in combination with one of her other works. I just finished reading the first part (Dark Piper) which I’m going to review today.

It was everything I remembered–the richness of the language, the total transportation to a new world, interesting characters, and engrossing plot. I think one of the main reasons it appealed to me was that the young characters in the book had to reach far beyond themselves when they were trapped underground. They did the things that were necessary to get back to the surface and then back to the area where their home was. And then, when they figured out their lives were changed forever, they reached beyond themselves some more. As a teenager, I often wondered if I could do that; do what was necessary to survive. And I find, coming back to this book, thirty plus years later, that I have the same questions. Could I do what was necessary to survive? To protect my own children?  I believe I could, and I would only hope that I would be willing to protect the people around me. I know Ms. Norton is gone now, but I thank her for such a thought-provoking book and for the influence she had on the world of science fiction and fantasy. 

I know I touched on this briefly last week when I spoke of the lessons we, as adults, were imparting or not imparting to our teenagers. I thought though it deserved further treatment with events of the last few days.

Most youth sports leagues have something called a code of conduct which states the reasons that a player, coach, or team can be suspended from the league. Here is a link that will take you to several examples of such behavior.

One example that was prevalent in several copies that I looked at was fighting during the game. At the end of last week, two teams in my son’s league were suspended for the last two games of the season for fighting, but would have been allowed to come back for the tournament. Of course, news of the fight and its penalty filtered through the league quickly. We were all surprised as it was understood that the police had been called and that there had been injuries in said fight. Rumors flew as to why the particular penalty had been given, and the reputation of the people running the league started to take a hit. It was discouraging to think that the lessons we were trying to impart to our son were not being supported by the community at large.

This morning, however, it all changed with the news of another fight between two more teams in the league. The penalty was immediate and more appropriate. All four teams were expelled from the league and not allowed to play any further games this year including the games in the tournament. The tournament schedule is going to be reworked, and I am eager to see what’s going to happen. Before my husband left for work, he told our son this was a good lesson for him. There will always be a penalty for bad behavior. It might not come immediately, but it will eventually come.

Until next time, be real!

I saw a quote in my writing inspiration book this morning that particularly struck me. It was by author William Zinsser.

“Writers are the custodians of memory, and memories have a way of dying with their owner.”

I have found this to be very true. We wouldn’t know near what we know about history if people hadn’t taken the time to write things down. You could also say the same about many different subjects. I think I might have previously discussed my grandmother’s memoir in this blog. I have read it in full over the past few weeks and have learned a great deal about her life and about the beginning of mine. You could say that it was eye opening. I say all this to say that writing our thoughts and feelings down for the next generation is important because how else will people hear our story?

Until next time, be real!

The last couple of weeks have been crazy busy with both of my sons having baseball games just about every day. Something happened last night though at the ballpark which made me wonder what kind of lessons that we, as adults, are teaching our kids. One of the umpires of the game, an adult that all the boys are supposed to respect, actually picked an argument with one of the kids on my son’s team about midway through the game and then got mad when the boy wouldn’t respond. The boy had made one statement from the dugout that the umpire took exception to and then the umpire tried to goad him for the rest of the game to see if he would make any more statements. I was impressed  the boy was able to contain himself. What I was not impressed with was the umpire who was the supposed adult in this picture didn’t behave appropriately. Not only was he not concentrating on what he was supposed to be doing as far as the game was concerned (Many mistakes were made on the calls.), any example of good sportsmanship he might have imparted to the kids was totally lost with his bad conduct.

And we wonder why teenagers behave badly today. Maybe we, as parents and other adults in their lives, ought to look in the mirror when we complain about our teenagers behaving badly.

Until next time, be real!