Friday’s Session

It’s 10:26, the breakfast dishes are soaking, I made the bed; the dogs are napping, and I’ve just read through another edit of my Chapters Three and Four. I’ve read it’s best to read out loud when doing that. It’s true, you hear some weird things when you do that. I feel pretty confident about the two chapters. I may get bold and share a part of them on the creative FB groups I belong to. And here, as I become braver. I can tell I’m learning, and that’s a good feeling.

The red pencil needs sharpening. I have to laugh at the Pro Writing Aid software I use. I’ve been happy with it, but lately, I see them suggesting to use, say “beat;” and then you correct it, they tell you “beat ” and you could chase your tail all day long. If you turn off the suggestion, you turn it off not just on that one example, but on all occurrences of it until the end of time! Be careful what you wish for. The thing is, don’t totally rely on the software. Sometimes it makes little sense.

Stories. We all have them. We all tell them. We share some; we keep others hidden away and shout others from the rooftops. How do we decide which ones to share? I believe it may work the same when writing a song, and you need the very best of all words for the perfect song. Lennon and McCartney proved that. Brian Wilson lived that. Bruce Springsteen preaches that. Jon Bon Jovi gets that done in fine fashion. They bless us with rich stories of words and sounds of music which tell our stories better than we could have ever hoped to. How do they know?

They know because they have a gift. They’re aware they need to share the gift with others. How generous! We’ve met some wonderful musicians in the past seven or eight years who are local, some are not. We’ve discovered they are very down to earth for all being geniuses. I believe they are. Their messages are always positive, they are all very grateful people, too. You just don’t hear that from a bean counter, you know? There are difficulties, especially now during the Pandemic. Travel and late night gigs are tough on relationships. They make great sacrifices to share their creations with us. How lucky we are.

Writers? I’m finding out how hard it is to write a novel, not just gush words as we do when speaking. When I was a kid, I had a fantasy of being a reporter for our local newspaper. I wanted to see my name in print. My dad worked there my entire life. I was on our school newspaper for a while, and it was cool to see your name in print. That fantasy remained a fantasy. As I got older, the fantasy morphed into writing a children’s book. I have a few manuscripts, I’m looking for a young artist to help me out. I’m contacting her after Christmas and hoping we can work together. She’s very good, and I know children love whimsical artwork in books.

Words, words, words. It’s hard to choose the right ones from time to time. Other times, they flow like a river. Writing against the tide can be difficult. But going with the flow isn’t always the right thing to do. I’m really enjoying the book I’m reading by Carol Gino, “Me and Mario.” It’s about her twenty-year relationship with Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather. Yesterday, as she as describing her learning from him about writing, this phrase struck me: “What you need to learn is the carpentry of writing.” She questioned him further, and he replied, “Writing can’t be taught but it can be learned. Carpentry is the nuts and bolts of writing.” And there you have it. Ms. Gino, if you read this, know I’m fascinated by the advice he gave you. Thank you for sharing it with the world.

One thing our entire family learned from Dad had to do with quality paper. Newsprint has transformed over the years, from 1952 until present day. They have shaved it down, the width is much less than years ago. The thickness of the paper has gone from much thicker to onion skin thin. While the Babe and still took the paper, I remarked the paper itself was so thin you could see through it, making it hard for aging eyes to read. In a bright light, you could see the shadow of the next page interfere with what you were attempting to read. Poor quality.

And don’t get me started about printed books! Oh my gosh, the slick glossy paper is the stuff they make my dreams of. It would be so expensive to have a book printed on that. I’m jealous of the folks that can do that. Maybe someday, I can too. You never know. Thanks, Dad. It’s funny when someone else in our family and I look at a book, we open and feel the pages. “Excellent stuff, Dad would approve.” It’s a warm, wonderful memory. I know, we’re a weird lot.

With that fond memory, it’s time to get back to writing. It’s been a great day so far, and I’m working so it continues. Thank you for reading today, hope you return tomorrow. I’ll be here, as usual. Be Safe. Be Courteous. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Let’s all work to make this world a kinder place. Thank you.

Friday Follies

Well, maybe not follies. Imagine, if you will, a time and place where the big, bad dog jumps back and forth with the vacuum cleaner, barking, and having a puppy fit over the very home appliance which cleans up her hair that has been shed like sprinkles from cupcakes. Goldie is such a goof. I’m not sure why she does that, she just does. Lexie has always ignored it as part of life on Raabe Ranch. We are nearly finished autumnizing our home. It looks nice if I must say so myself. Bright and happy. I like that.

I had a come to Jesus moment; a revelation; an incredible idea. I’m going to outline the rest of my chapters by scenes, to write with the six steps for scenes Sam told me about last Thursday. Multiple related scenes can make up a chapter. I think it’ll make it a lot easier to keep track of what I’m doing. While it’s great to believe you can just sit down and write on the fly, it’s really hard to resolve all the issues, keep the tense the same, even keep track of who does what to who (whom?), and why they did it. It’s a lot more complicated than it looks. And writers cannot let that intimidate them. The stories we need to tell also need telling.

Now, that said, I cannot imagine what drives Stephen King to write some of the frightful stuff he writes. I cannot imagine if he himself has inner demons in need of release, or it he just thinks of these things and keeps track of his nightmares. What do you think? I know he has many, many fans. I prefer not to have the bejesus scared out of me. (Or is it BeJesus?) Whichever, I think you get my drift.

Goldie, after wearing herself out yesterday.

This time last year, I honestly pictured myself at book signings, talking to people, sharing merch, and having people ask me when another book would be coming out. It is a powerful thought to hold. And I still expect it to happen someday. I do believe age gives me the confidence needed to do this. I still have some things to learn to make it successful. I’m already a patient person, and I know God will get me there when He thinks I’m ready. I trust in His will, seriously.

COVID has taught us a lot of things. I’m tired of the disruptions being blamed on it. Some of the political strife is intensified because people’s spirits are in a shambles. You add racial tensions, and it’s out of control. I read a powerful article in the past month, stating it’s an insult to Rosa Parks, MLK, and all the others to say there is not racial equality. After all, it is illegal to discriminate against a person of color, a different religion, sexual preference, gender, and the disabled. If you say there is no racial equality, you insult Rosa Parks, MLK, and everyone who fought so hard to get the laws changed, and some who died trying. Don’t belittle their life’s work. Think about that. BTW. It was written by a black woman.

Of course, I have music playing in the background while I write. I am able to write while listening to singing, some folks cannot. Of course, I listen subconsciously to the stories being told in the music. My favorite songwriters are the storytellers. The stories they tell, whether they be happy or sad, funny or serious, unique or shared by many, all help us express our feelings about the very same circumstances. I’d like to think I might be able to write the lyrics to a song someday. Just to try it. I took piano lessons a century or two ago. No, I don’t have confidence to sing in front of people. Or my dogs. I have no idea if I’m any good or not – the Choir nun used to make us sing in a high falsetto in Church, so it kind of ruined us for regular singing. We called her Sister Lulu.

Today, it’s write until I hit a block. Hopefully not a cow writing block.

I want to thank you for reading today, you know how I appreciate it. It will be unusually hot today in Nebraska, hope it’s done once Sunday is over. Hopefully, we’ll both have successful ventures today. I hope you accomplish all you want to. We purposefully rose early today so we would have enough time to get more done. It’s on track to be a great day of accomplishment. Hope yours is too! Be safe, courteous, and kind. If we all do that every day, the mood of our towns, cities, states and nation could start to calm down. It’s worth all of us working on. See you all tomorrow!