Something exciting is happening in my world.
I’m not going to share it with you.
But I will. Soon!
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…
…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.
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.
If you wrote a fiction story in first person, who would the main character be?
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 backward! (I saw you check to confirm).
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?
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.
I’m often asked about the details of my preferred writing environment — the setting, the ambiance. I’m a bare bones writer who enjoys solitude and appreciates nothing more on my desk than a laptop and a tea light — my six-hour “contract” to show up, stay put, and write.
To avoid diversion, I turn off my cell phone and limit my writing screen to two ingredients: a white page and a black background.
My desk is situated by a window that overlooks a well-seasoned, rugged oak tree in our front yard. When there are noise distractions outside, I put on headphones, turn the volume low, and listen to instrumental music.
For me, the essential element for music to write by is that it must transport me to the ocean:
I want to hear the seagulls screeching overhead and waves crashing on the shore.
I want to taste the salt in the air and dig my toes in the sand.
I want to squint from the brilliant shimmer of sun glancing off the waves.
I want the sea breeze to ruffle my hair as it carries the briny smell of seaweed.
With this in mind, I created The Key of Sea— a music playlist to write by. Even though I’ve listed specific tracks below, all of the recordings on each album are transportive. Bon voyage!
During the week I was in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico it became clear that due to sheer lack, hygiene, and safety issues, two of the most basic needs—drinkable water and heat—are of tremendous concern.
With service above self as their motto, the local Rotary Club go to the people in dire need — not to gave a hand out, but a hand up — a fishing pole instead of a fish — educating people as they go.
The local Rotary Club has amazingly provided:
587 Cisterns built in 19 Communities
Benefiting 4000+ family members (+ other school & kinder children)
Cost per cistern – US $700
Constructed 1,400 in 29 Communities
Benefiting 5,000 + family members
Cost per stove – US $48
For more information specific to the phenomenal benefits of the small economical stoves, please follow this link: StoveTeam International
To find out how your financial support can help to change lives, please contact:
On Oct 31 I was privileged to speak at the First Annual Wellness and Spirituality Expo in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico—a benefit to raise funds and awareness toward the fight to stop violence against women and children.
Saludos—greetings—from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where preparations are excitedly underway for Dia de los Muertos—Day of the Dead—in which the many of the local people remember and honor their deceased loved ones.
Though it may sound somber or macabre, it’s not!
The view from my room in the hacienda where I’m staying
Between Oct 31 and Nov 2 it’s a festivo—festive holiday—with eye-popping, colores vivos—vivid colors—everywhere to welcome departed loved ones, believing that their espíritu—spirits—return to earth for a single day each year to spend time with familia—family.
Day of the Dead is celebrado—celebrated—differently all over the world. In Mexico many of the cemetery lápidas—headstones—have elaborate decorations because it’s thought that the spirits stop there first on their way home. The casas—homes—have intricately decorated ofrendas—altars—to welcome departed loved ones.
Stairwell in hacienda – my room’s at the top
It’s believed that the spirits of bebés y niños—babies and children—arrive at midnight on Oct 31 to spend a full day with their families then leave, and the spirits of adultos—adults—arrive the following day.
Bedroom Ceiling in Hacienda by Laurie Buchanan
¿Alguna vez se celebra el día de los muertos Have you ever celebrated Day of the Dead?