Le Plume

I just attended the ever-phenomenal Writers’ Institute in Madison, Wisconsin. When not hosting a session, I made a point of meeting people. A diverse group, I’m confident that every literary genre was represented at this heavily-attended event.

One of the things that all of the attendees had in common is their interest in writing. Another similarity is their love of writing implements! I saw pens from:

  • disposable to incredibly expensive
  • ballpoint to roller ball, gel, and fountain
  • retractable to cap-top
UW-Madison's 27th Annual Writers' Institute

UW-Madison’s 27th Annual Writers’ Institute

I saw two left-handed pens (not kidding), and one pen that wrote with an antiqued brown (think sepia tone) inkAmazingly, one author/speaker, Bradley Beaulieu, did his book signing in calligraphy!

My favorite is the Jetstream pen made by uni-ball. Simple, I like its retractable style and the quick-drying ink leaves a smooth writing line. I’d go to the mat for my pen!

Do you have a favorite pen?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Unleashed Imagination

Artists come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and age groups. They’re creative people who produce art: photographers, potters, painters, actors, chefs, fashion designers, writers, singers, illustrators, sculptors, musicians, and the list goes on…

Last year when I applied for a writer’s residency, I was asked for my artist statement. What?! I’d never given it a moment’s thought. They wanted to know the why behind my writing. So I got busy and crafted one:

Artist Statement — Laurie Buchanan

Writing to me, is what an empty box is to a child—a key that unlocks the imagination, transforming empty space into a race car or stage coach, fort or castle, spaceship or submarine. For me a blank page is transportation to a world of my own, one where anything is possible.

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Early on, the process of painting word pictures struck me as magical. Over the years that spellbinding practice led me from writing lyrics, to magazine articles, blogging, short stories, and finally to writing books.

A vehicle for transforming inner vision to outer reality, writing fills me with a sense of completion. Though I work quite deliberately, consciously employing my muse—brevity, concision—my unconscious is the one who holds the reins.

Never without a notebook or laptop, the concrete nature of writing—pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard—frees my imagination and provides opportunity for serendipity and grace to influence the finished product.

I didn’t set out to become a writing alchemist—an author whose words affect positive change—but as my portfolio developed and my reading audience grew, that description emerged.

One of the most wondrous aspects of writing is that each reader enjoys a different takeaway from the same word picture—therein lies the magic.

 

Have you had to craft an artist statement, mission statement, or perhaps a life statement?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie

I’ve Got a Secret

Something exciting is happening in my world.
I’m not going to share it with you.
Just yet.
But I will.
Soon!

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The reason for this excitement was a catalyst for reaching out to other writers — published women authors — with a request. Without exception, this network of friends stepped up to the plate and embraced my request with yes, Yes, YES! Their glowing support has me bursting at the seams.

Like fizz in champagne, do you have something — secret or otherwise — that has you bubbling with excitement?

Psssst, if you’re one of the authors who’s stepped up to the plate, mum’s the word…

© Laurie Buchanan

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Carriage House Journal

You may remember our recent relocation from Crystal Lake, Illinois to Boise, Idaho. Upon arrival we enjoyed a three month lease — a stepping stone to find a home to purchase, or lease long-term. Last week we had the move-out inspection at the previous address because…

…we long-term leased the carriage house of one of the mansions in the Warm Springs Avenue Historic District. It perfectly suits our needs! We even donated our yard maintenance equipment because everything — and I do mean everything — is meticulously cared for.

Office View

My writing space is phenomenal! In addition to nonfiction work, this gorgeous view has triggered a spurt of fiction writing. My work in progress is titled Carriage House Journal — a series of short stories told in first person through the eyes of a mail carrier.

Office Windows

If you wrote a fiction story in first person, who would the main character be?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Tickling Words

When I wear my writing hat I play with words. Saying them out loud or seeing them on a page often conjures something different from the intended meaning—at least in my mind:

  • Monkey—mon key—key to a Jamaican man’s heart
  • Herring—her ring—oftentimes worn to ward off would-be suitors, as in “red herring”
  • Portion—poor shun—an ineffectual attempt to to ignore someone
  • Keyboard—key bored—a writer who’s not “in the zone”
  • Solar powered—soular powered—a person who’s plugged into Source Energy
  • Petulant—pet you lent—short-term loan of your companion animal

Communication is the currency of life so it’s important to get it right (or write, as the case may be). And in this fast-paced world where it’s hard to gain and retain people’s attention, concision is vital.

Just in case you never noticed…

DAMMIT I’M MAD  is  DAMMIT I’M MAD  spelled backwards! (I saw you check to confirm).

Are you an attentive communicator?

It takes a creative mind and a steady-handed plume to wordsmith a book. Please join me in pre-ordering your September-release copy of FIRST-DEGREE FUDGE: A FUDGE SHOP MYSTERY authored by my friend and mentor, Christine DeSmet.

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.” — Laurie Buchanan

The Book—Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience—Life Harmony

© Laurie Buchanan 2013

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Not just for Writers — Criticism versus Critique

When I spoke at the Writers’ Institute at UW-Madison, one of my topics was why critiquing is necessary. My presentation included defining the difference between criticism and critique:

I represented CRITICISM with scissor blades facing the recipient — putting a person on the defensive. We typically react (knee-jerk) to this style of communication, viewing it as an attack. Criticism is problem-oriented, negative, and critical.

I represented CRITIQUE with scissor handles facing the recipient — putting the person at ease. We typically respond (thought-filled) to this style of communication, viewing it as a gift. Critique is solution-oriented, positive, and helpful.

When you provide feedback (at home, work, or in a writing situation), is your message respectful, honest, useful, clear, and specific?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

The Book—Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience—Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Find me on Twitter @HolEssence

Six Word Stories

The delicate task of selection and arrangement of words on a page—writing—is as vital to a wordsmith as breathing.

Much like a surgeon’s unwavering use of a scalpel, writers carefully trim their work to achieve effectiveness through concision—the hallmark of good writing.

Perhaps the most famous example of brevity is the heartbreaking six word story attributed to Ernest Hemingway: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

In creating an assignment for my Life Harmony students—write your memoir in six words—I first had to craft my own. For those of you don’t know me well, I ran away from home when I was a sophomore in high school. My six word memoir:
“Left home walking, learned to soar.”

I took this photo titled “Untethered” in September of 2011 while driving across a small portion of the Mojave Desert. Click on photo to enlarge.

What is your six word memoir?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

The Book—Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience—Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Find me on Twitter @HolEssence