Saturday, April 27, 2013

Make yourself at home

Bailey disappeared the other evening from the first floor during a Red Sox game. I searched the first floor and then up on the second, including his bed... no Bailey.

I took a second sweep around the house and this time turned on the light in my bedroom where Bailey's bed is on the floor. Seems he's decided his LL Bean bed doesn't quite cut it any more.

That's right: I set him straight.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Being boring

On his blog Daniel Coyle posted a piece about the lives of creative types. It's a fascinating look at the rituals of the super creative. I'd never describe myself as being uber-creative, but I have a few entrepreneurial whispers that might be considered original.

Coyle says, "To be truly creative, you have to be brave enough to be boring." I couldn't agree more.  Take a look at his post; it's worth a look. If you scroll down below the post, you'll see my response. Just click on this title The Talent Code to get to his blog.  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Six-word memoirs & novels

Hemingway is thought to have written one of the first six-word novels over a bet with friends. The manuscript reads like this:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.  

There's something really inviting about the six-word stories. Such writing forces us to think deeply about our words and to play with a variety of combinations. Composing these short-short stories gets at the notion of revision when working with young writers--with any writer, for that matter. Here are a few of my favorite six-word stories:

Kiss gone astray, hell to pay. 
We thought the gun wasn't loaded. 
One gun, two shots, three dead. 
Sheik wins bachelorette auction, "prize" absconds.
After she died, he came alive. 
My husband is invisible. No, really. 

My friend Tanya Baker of the National Writing Project, a former UMaine colleague, showcased a few websites that feature six-word stories. A fellow NWPer, Paul Oh, created one of the sites. For me, the videos featuring high school kids and their writing brought back a slew of memories. Check them out:

Clarity Through Brevity: Integrating Six-Word Memoirs  

Making as Writing/Writing as Making: Six Word Memoirs

Now try a few of your own. You never know:

Pulitzer winner credits six-word novel prompts.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Vegetable Soup

Rich's Vegetable Soup!
I'm a late bloomer. Take dogs, for example. I decided to adopt Bailey nearly three years ago. Since then, as if I'm the first dog owner on the planet, I have written, talked, and photoed him endlessly. All my dog friends have been so kind. They've smiled and "Oh really'ed?" for the past 3 years. Then there's cooking.

I can make simple fare like lasagna, spaghetti, and chicken dishes, but when it comes to real cooking, well...

I've been trying to move away from eating meat. Recently, I visited my friend Anne and her husband, Joe, and sister Betty. They served a delicious meal starting with a selection of hors d'oeurves followed by a delectable vegetable soup. I admitted to Anne that I'd like to learn how to make  soup and she followed up by emailing me the recipe.

The next Sunday, I headed off to the supermarket to buy the ingredients. The shop had rutabaga, but not turnip. Duh! Who knew they were the same! It gets worse: I'd never opened a garlic clove or used barely in any form. But, step by step I just pushed through. Honestly, I love this soup! It's hearty and filling... I had so much that I froze two big containers after three meals.

Now my soup and cooking friends have to listen to me, "the cook," talk the game I just learned. I have such good friends...

Here's the recipe Anne provided:

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Monica Wood and Basic Story Structure

On Saturday at UMaine, we hosted Monica Wood, author of novels, books for writers and teachers, and a 2012 award-winning memoir, When We Were the Kennedys. A long-time friend, Monnie has been living the writer's life for many years. Novelist Ron Carlson wrote, "The writer's the one who stays in the room." Monnie has stayed in the room crafting her stories. She's paid her dues and now she's enjoying some much deserved recognition.

Monica Wood
During her writing workshop on Saturday, she spoke about Basic Story Structure, an element of sound writing that all writers need to be reminded of. Going back through a draft of story and identifying the basic elements can help any writer with story development and revision.  

Click to enlarge

Orono Buddy

Bailey has a new caretaker/buddy in Orono. Sam is the 8th grade son of Heather Pullen, one of Rich's colleagues at the University.  Bailey and Sam hung out on Saturday while Rich ran a conference. Clearly, Bailey had the best time.

Bailey & Sam

"Do I have to go home, Dad?"