Open House for 3WW

Published August 22, 2012 by Ms. Nine

3WW prompts: amuse, excite, sincere

The voices in the hall expanded like air in a balloon.

“Bonjour, everyone, bonjour,” she announced to the parents and students waiting by her door.  “My name is Madame Jolivette.  I look forward to meeting each of you. Come in.  Make yourselves at home.”

Madame’s arms gestured a sincere invitation as pupils and parents filed through the doorway.  Faded posters of La Tour Eiffel, La Seine, and L’Arc de Triomphe paired with charts of conjugated verbs wallpapered the room.  She sighed.  This may be my last Open House. When I retire I’ll go to Paris and stroll along L’Avenue des Champs-Élysées…

A chubby boy wearing a collared shirt eyed the pastries on a sideboard.  Madame raised her eyebrows and pursed her lips.  Ah, croissants and éclairs never fail to excite them.

Parents and students mingled, munched French pastries, and chatted.  Madame overheard.

“They say French is a dying language,” a father said.

“Not true.  All international treaties are written in French,” piped another parent.

“Used to be. They’re written in English nowadays,” another argued.

“Why would the board approve this course, then?”

Mme. Jolivette interrupted, “I’m sure the answer will amuse you…Let me tell you a story…”

Thanks for stopping by!

Five Things

Published August 20, 2012 by Ms. Nine

“Your book sales hit 1,000 today,” he said.

I didn’t know this tall, skinny man who sat at my circular writing desk located at Barnes & Noble.  I stared at his grey goatee and put down my coffee cup.  My heart beat wildly, and the first thing I wanted to do was write about my feelings.  I jumped out of the dream with an idea.

What are five things that could happen today that would make my heart beat wildly?

  1. My readers will stop in for a look-see.
  2. I will write something worth reading.
  3. New ideas will percolate.
  4. One of my kids will call or come by.
  5. I’ll think of something else to add to this list

The day has just begun.  What are five things you would like to happen today?

Thanks for stopping by!

Mom’s Advice: “You should be Writing Your Book”

Published August 13, 2012 by Ms. Nine

wikimedia commons

 

What would happen if you suspended posting for a week?  Is the world going to end?

Is someone going to die?

Would you shrink and disappear into the nethermost digital divide?

Is this unthinkable?  Can you stop blogging for an entire week?

 

This is my challenge.

If I’m successful, you’ll see a new post on August 20th.

Would I finish my wip??

I’m about to find out.

 

 

Thanks for stopping by.

Does it Matter?

Published August 10, 2012 by Ms. Nine

When I discovered blogging, I made a mistake and told my mother about it.  She didn’t get it at all.

“Why are you doing that?”

“It’s fun to write stories and read other people’s comments,” I said.

“How do you know they are who they say they are?  They might be scammers. You could get a virus, you know.”

Trying to tell my mother about secure servers, virus protection, and anonymity is like telling the Holy Father about birth control.  Why bother?

I simply said, “It’s safe, Mom.  I don’t even use real names.”

“So what.  Hackers could find out.”

“You know the story about the tree and the elephant cables?  Well, I write stories like that on my blog,” I said. “You’d get a kick out of them”

“I don’t go on the internet for stories.  My computer is too slow. No. No..No..I wouldn’t do that.  Can’t you just mail the stories? Just send them to me.”

We didn’t need to be skyping for me to see her shaking her head. I dropped the subject like a coconut from a skyscraper.  I told myself it didn’t matter if she reads my blog.  That was a fat lie.

Mom called today.

“I read your blogs, you know,” her sing-song tone sounded like a nananaboobee.

“Oh.” I said. I wanted to jump up and down, shout hallelujah, and do a cartwheel.  I was proud of her.

Silence.

“Well, what did you think, Mom?”

“There’re wonderful!….You should be writing your book.”  There it was – a “should be” – an admonishment dressed up and ready for church.

“I’m doing both at the same time,” I said.

“Okay, yeah, yeah,yeah… You remember Bob? Well, his father died and the funeral was yesterday…”

A funeral?  So she called to tell me about a funeral?

She told me she sang at the service, baked a cake, and brought over a casserole for the family.  When she received the thank-you note, she was baffled at how much her gifts had meant to them.  An implied  shucks it was nothing.  A lie.  Maybe she didn’t expect them to express their gratitude so deeply. I’m sure she appreciated knowing that what she did mattered.

“Mom, remember how grateful we were when Dad died and all those people brought food to the house? We sent thank-you notes, too.  Kindness matters.”

“Yeah, well…”

Not long after our conversation ended, it occurred to me that shucks, it was nothing was the same response I had made when she told me she reads my posts.  It matters.

Thank-you, Mom.

Happy writing and happy weekend!

Wild Word Whispers

Published August 9, 2012 by Ms. Nine

Tag.  A running away from it game. Today I’m it, the one making the rules.

For the tagged:

  1. Chase your dreams
  2. If you decide to tag a few blogs, leave a comment
  3. Answer one question you hope nobody will ask

I’ll be commenting as I tag you.  When you’re it you get to make the rules.

The answer to the question I wish nobody would ask:  Yes, I took my estrogen today. Shut up.

 

Thanks for playing! (or not)

The Wizard and Blueberries for 3WW

Published August 8, 2012 by Ms. Nine

CC Wikimedia

3WW  prompt: crumble, uneasy, drawn

“Hey, do you know where the Wizard’s Cauldron is?” Faith asked the driver across from us.

We had an address but couldn’t get a handle on the pick-your-own blueberry farm. I rode shot-gun and navigated.

“It’s that-a-way,” the driver shouted, pointing toward Route 158.

The light changed and Faith U-turned. “Didn’t we already drive this way?” she asked. The familiar landmarks, a liquor store, an empty shack, and a set of run-down mobile homes, made me feel uneasy.  Then again, we had driven by so many streets; any one of them could have evoked a déjà vu.

“Okay, now watch for a sign,” she said.

“I’ve seen it.”

“What? Where?”

I looked at her. “In the haunted forest right before the witch’s castle.  It said I’d turn back if I were you.”

She rolled her eyes. “Don’t be silly. We’re not going back empty-handed. Carol told me to look for a small sign next to a warehouse.  Is that a warehouse?” She pointed to a row of garages clumped together like bad teeth.

“Yeah, could be,” I said.

She lifted her foot off the gas without ramming the brake pedal, an improvement in her driving I could only attribute to magic.  To me, this was proof of our proximity to the Wizard’s Whatever.

“Look! There it is!” she squealed, wrenching a hard right.  I never noticed the sign as my head hit the roof when she ignored the curb. She stopped her new Ford Focus behind the ramshackle warehouse.  Another sign propped against the wall was harder to miss.   I read the primary-grade print in purple letters.

Pick your own. $1.00 a pint. Leave money in jar. Use honor system.

I twitched.  A pint? How many blueberries are in a pint? Can you pick a half-pint? What if we didn’t have the exact amount of money? Who makes change? I’d never experienced self-service like this. It felt strange, but I followed Faith down a path between the wind break.

Hidden from the road, acres of blueberry shrubs dotted an open field. I could spot the blueberries from yards away. They hung like mini-ornaments in splendid clusters.  They glistened with the promise of blueberry crumble and all else that is holy.

Within thirty minutes, we had drawn a gallon of berries from the Wizard’s Cauldron, stuffed two bills in the jar, and flitted..

During the drive back to town, Faith described the recipes she would use, who she would make them for, when she’d make them, and why.  “I’m going to make Bobby a pie.  I’m old fashioned.  I think if he tastes my cooking, he’ll love me even more.  Isn’t that a ridiculous sentiment?” She turned to me for what, reassurance? Too bad she didn’t see the bakery truck barreling down the wrong side of a country road.

“Faith! Look out!” I grabbed the wheel. She kicked the brake pedal and screamed.

I’m sure a scenic road becomes a kaleidoscope of pretty colors when viewed from the widows of a spinning car.  I can’t say.  My eyelids and cheek bones instinctively formed a seal, protecting me from all visuals, beautiful or otherwise.  My ears, however, were blasted with the audio of Faith’s screams.

Like a windup toy, the car lost its energy and stopped.

“Are you okay?”

I nodded. “Are you?”

“I’m a mess. That truck! Where did it go?” Faith fumed.

“Drove away.”

“We’re lucky no one got hurt. Hell, we’re lucky to be alive!” she turned to look in the back. “Look, the blueberries didn’t spill.”

Faith thought it best if I drove the rest of the way. I looked in the rear view mirror at the peculiar black circles staining the road. I shrugged, shifted to drive, and punched it.

I was sorely in need of to-die-for blueberry crumble.

Don’t you love 3WW…Thanks for stopping by!

The Art of Losing

Published August 7, 2012 by Ms. Nine

PD-US

“Diana, look. The potato sack race is starting. Get in line, quick!” her mother urged.

Too shy, Diana wilted at the thought of joining in anything, especially competitive activities.

“Go on, you can do it. You could win, you know. You’re tall and long-legged,” she coaxed.

“Mom, do I have to?”

“I want you to try. Yes, you have to.”

Her mother’s trump card played, Diana had no choice but to comply.

The contestants lined up at the starting line, ears pinned for the ready-set-pop of a cap gun-go.

She heard the crowd cheering the contestants on, her mother’s voice louder than the rest, “Come on! Come on! Jump, Diana, keep jumping!”

Hey, Mom’s right! Look at me! I’m ahead! Gripping the potato sack and bouncing to mid field, she glanced back at the others.  I’m far ahead!

Diana, transfixed by the finish line in front of her, tripped and fell, her face inches away from the red tape taut on the field.

“Get up! Get up! You can win!” her mother screamed.

Diana stared at the tape. If she stuck out her tongue, she could lick it. She imagined it would taste like a strawberry lollipop. Unfortunately, her feet, not her tongue had to cross that line.  She couldn’t move them until the announcer shouted, “And the winner is….”

Not her.

I’m this close to finishing my wip.  Why can’t I reach the finish line?

Thanks for stopping by!

Dudley Do-Right and a Drum Roll

Published August 6, 2012 by Ms. Nine

Awards.  When I taught middle school, they were part of the game.   For kicks, our team decided to award every student with a “candy bar award”.  We brainstormed a list of candy bars and matching attributes.  For example the “Mr. Goodbar Award” went to the most helpful student, the “Peppermint Patti Award” to the most cheerful, the “Snickers Award” to the funniest, etc…You get the idea.

When I received two awards this weekend, I was flabbergasted.  If I was to receive a candy bar award it would be the “Almond Joy Award” for being the happiest blogger in the blogosphere.

I was nominated for the “Beautiful Blogger Award” by Nicole.  She’s an excellent writer venturing into the world of fiction.

Terry nominated me for the “Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award”.  You’ll find her life situation and her writing very inspirational.

The rules for accepting each award are identical:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you with a link.
  2. Copy and paste the award logo to your blog.
  3. Share seven things about yourself
  4. Nominate other bloggers for the award and notify them.

Seven Five Things:

  1. When I was six, I learned how to change diapers (the cloth and pin type).
  2. There’s a 1953 Farmall Super C parked by the barn.  Like my husband, it still works.
  3. Cell phones are annoying gadgets.
  4. I have seven siblings.
  5. Rocky and Bullwinkle are brilliant commentators (Rocky the flying squirrel, not Rocky Balboa).  The new WABAC machine arrives in 2013.  Aren’t you excited?

Now for the nominees (my favorite part)…

Beautiful Bloggers:

  1. Lucas Draeger
  2. Kirk Watson
  3. Karin Wiberg
  4. Marji Laine
  5. The Living Notebook

Sisterhood Bloggers:

1. Cathy

2. Heidi

3. Amy Signs

4. QM

5. Clotildajamcracker

All of these blogs are full of Almond Joys.  Indulge yourself.

Happy writing and thanks for stopping by!

The Stein and Ms.Nine

Published August 3, 2012 by Ms. Nine

Note: I’m re-posting this in case you haven’t seen it.

It’s inevitable. Throughout time, writers have used technology to write – movable type, ball point pens, the electric typewriter, and the ultimate writing machine – the word processor.

What if writers of the 20th century like Hemingway, Faulkner, or Fitzgerald used the technology of today?  Would they have accomplished more?  What would 20th century writers do with word processors, the internet, or blogging?  There’s only one way to find out.

I invited Mr. Steinbeck into my imagination for an interview.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation…

Ms. Nine:  Welcome, Mr. Steinbeck.  Thanks for spending e-time on my blog today.

Mr. Steinbeck:  Please, call me ‘the Stein’; it’s my tag.

Ms. Nine: (the Stein??  I could NEVER!)… >cough< …I’ve invited you here so writers could benefit from your perspective on being a writer in the 21st century.

Mr. Steinbeck: Writers are a little below clowns and a little above trained seals.

Ms. Nine: Uh..okay, if you say so… This is my first posthumous interview and I’m a little nervous… So here’s my first question.  How do you feel about using a word processor?

Mr. Steinbeck:  I hate computers.  They know so much more than I do.  Using a computer forces a writer to think harder, faster, stronger.

Ms. Nine:  Would these modern tools have helped you write?

Mr. Steinbeck:  After I won the big P for The Grapes of Wrath, it was tough getting back on track.   I mean, I still had more writing to do.  Maybe if I had a word processor I would have won that Nobel Prize a lot sooner.  Who’s to say?

Ms. Nine:  Would you have finished The Acts of King Author and His Nobel Knights?

Mr. Steinbeck:  You had to mention that thorn in my side.  I’m not making excuses, but in my day writers had to set priorities.    Yeah, maybe a word processor would have helped.  But back then writers believed in the perfectibility of man.  We didn’t write frivolously.  We wrote – wrote – to bring awareness of the economic and social injustice of the time.  I was making a statement!

Ms. Nine:  This brings me to my next topic – J. Edgar Hoover, the League of American Writers, and the Cold War Communist witch hunt. Do you think using social media and the internet would have made a difference?

Mr. Steinbeck:  If I could have tweeted about what happened to Charlie Chaplin and the Smothers brothers, the resulting public outcry might have stopped all that Communist brouhaha.   I am clever with words.  But remember, if I could have accessed social media, so could McCarthy and Hoover.  The ability of social media to shape collective consciousness is astounding.   It flows in all directions.

Ms. Nine: One last question – would you have used a website to promote your work?

Mr. Steinbeck:  At this point, I have grown beyond my work, walked up the stairs of my own concepts, and emerged ahead of my accomplishments, all achieved without a website.  Ironically, now that I’m dead, I have at least a dozen.

Well, there you have it – a 20th century perspective on writing in the 21st century.  Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Thanks for stopping by!

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