Staying Relevant

So…how do we do this.  In an era where 140 characters are all we get to explain everything before the attention has drifted, how do we engage, entertain and enlighten our readers? Funny thing, recently found out that  virtual data turns out is not forever.  It deteriorates as do CDs. Virtual pictures too, so if all you have as a visual record are the images on your phone, uh-oh. In the end paper will endure.  In the end, our written record will be our only proof.  So relax…they will be back. Reading is not dead and paper…turns out is forever.

The Passing of a Giant (January 25, 1950–September 28, 2016)

Most people remember The Women Of Brewster Place. I remember Mama Day. It was the first book I loved reading so much that when I got to the last page I instinctively  turned back to page one to began the journey all over again. I even wrote her a fan letter and I never write fan letters…except once to Nikki Giovanni…alright twice to Nikki but she always writes back on beautiful stationary.51QjAAROLBL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_ Anyway, this woman had a wonderful talent for creating characters that were so vivid and real they felt like relatives.  She felt like a relative talking to me in the kitchen at Thanksgiving.  I am heartbroken that there will be no new stories by Gloria Naylor in my life. Peaceful journey home sweet sister.  Peaceful journey home.


Growing great stories

writingThe very core of what we do as writers is tell great stories. No matter what the genre the bottom line is writers tell great stories.  Even non-fiction writers tell great stories about events, people and causes.  People pay attention to great stories.  New writers often try to do too much with their writing.  Often too much attention is paid to trying to sound “professional” or slick.  Too much attention is paid to trying to create a great, unforgettable character.  All of these things will come in time. Get the story part right now.  Learn to be a good storyteller and the rest will follow. You will hold the attention and loyalty of your readers with good, solid complete stories. That will keep them coming back for more.

Baby Steps

Baby-ShoesWhat do you do when you don’t feel like writing but you have deadlines looming. Toni Morrison says you write anyway. Well…write what? Maybe…anything.  Not grocery lists anything.  But maybe one line anything. Write a little until you can write a lot.  Write to keep you in the game until you get your mojo back. Writing everyday does not have to be pages or even paragraphs.  It can be the perfect single line.  Even the imperfect single line but atleast you kept your pledge to write everyday. It won’t feel so overwhelming and daunting to take on the commitment to , “write everyday.” You don’t have to scale Everest every time out.  Sometimes just skipping molehills is enough.  Everest will come.

For The Art of It

The work of an artist is continuous.  It is not dependent on being published, or honored or even recognized.  An artist practices her art everyday to expand and improve. To bring up her art and take it to a higher level.  Two outstanding glaring examples of this is Emily Dickinson and Prince. Dickinson worked diligently on a single new poem everyday without even the smallest thought or prospect of being published. She was virtually a recluse and requested that her work be burned upon her death. She did it for the art of it.

Prince left enough unpublished music in his personal vault to record 100 more albums. Those close to him say he wrote a new song everyday.  His brother-in-law says Prince worked non-stop for nearly a week leading up to his death (don’t know if thats even possible but Prince worked hard enough that his brother-in-law felt it was non-stop for nearly a week). These are artist practicing their art…refining their art…perfecting their art, for the art of it. Emily_Dickinson images

Taking It To Another Level

The University of Conn women just won their fourth championship in a row. It’s a hell of an accomplishment but what makes them so great?  It does not make sense that the coach gets all of the best players in the country. UConn’s players are great but they are not the only great players in the country.  There are a lot of female basketball players just as great as Breanna Stewart or Moriah Jefferson.  What makes these players play on a different level than the other players?  Preparation, folks, preparation.  Before this team demolished their opponents in the championship game, they trained like hell to get ready to win.  Their coach is the difference between great potential and great achievement. He prepares his team like no other coach in his profession.  He brought in a marine sergeant to teach his players mental toughness. He also trained them like marine recruits. Most people (mediocre people) would say this is excessive for college sports. Gene Auriemma, Conn’s head coach, would disagree (as he 11846472heft his tenth trophy). Anyone who understands greatness would disagree.  Greatness does not result from doing what you’ve always done.  Greatness is a result of taking it to another level.  A level the vast majority is too scared or too lazy to reach for. It is not easy or fun or quick.  It is work…a lot of it.  It is tedious and sometimes boring.  It is a lot of shit work to get to the good stuff. Nope…I’m not just talking about a basketball game.