Monthly Archives: November 2013

Blessings of life: Thanksgiving Inspiration

“Blessings of life,” is a phrase often heard to begin or end a conversation on my fantasy world of Lantamyra. It was officially adopted as the Universal Blessing by the Venerable Akoshic Keepers of the Ways more than eighty thousand earth-years ago. After eons of debate, it was concluded to be the least-confrontational greeting or farewell used in over seven million languages and cultures on 35,423 living worlds in the Cosmic Garden of this part of the galaxy.

I first used the phrase on Thanksgiving Day, four or five years ago. My granddaughters (11 and 10 years old) were helping me prepare the apple and pumpkin pies. The  younger asked why it was called a blessing at the table and when you sneeze, and all the other times it was called a prayer. The eldest informed her that blessings and prayers were the same thing.

“Not quite the same thing,” I said. “Many times prayers are requests for help for family or friends. Blessings are considered essential gifts that we receive in life.”

“What’s essential?” The youngest asked.

“Like Christmas gifts!” said the eldest.

I laughed and informed them there were far more essential gifts than just Christmas gifts. I told them I would list some of my favorite blessings of life, and they can add their own to the list. “Every apple on the tree, every pumpkin on the vine, every day the sun comes up, and every night the full moon shines…hmmm…every clear mountain stream…every flower in the Spring…”

“Every turkey in the oven?” said the youngest.

“And every tater mashed with gravy,” I added.

“I bet the poor turkey didn’t want to be a blessing,” the eldest chuckled, clapping the flour off her hands.

“Plant or animal, something has to die to feed you, my dear. That’s why we show respect with a Thanksgiving blessing. Now let’s get back to the list. Every perfect snowflake, every drop of summer rain, every song the birdies sing…”

“Every kitty cat that chases them?” giggled the youngest at her cleverness.

“Every puppy, every goldfish,” added the eldest.

The youngest suddenly looked perplexed. “But what about Christmas gifts?”

“Every gift given with love is a blessing, including Christmas gifts.” I finished rolling the pie crust.

“Happy now?” the eldest teased her little sister.

“So every good thing’s a blessing?”

“Hmmm, yes, I guess it is, and everywhere in the Universe they teach thankfulness for the blessings of life.”

The day after Thanksgiving, I sat down at my computer and added the phrase, “Blessings of life,” as a universal greeting in my story, Lantamyra: A Tapestry of Fantasy.

Blessings of life,

Susan Waterwyk

P.S. I may have embellished the memory a bit. Sometimes the memories and fantasies get mixed in a pie. 😉

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Etymological Constipation (Writer’s Block) Causes and Cures

Hemmingway said, “Write drunk, edit sober.” Although, I do not agree with his source of inspiration the concept of “edit sober” is so true that it’s like a sentence from a sober judge (pun intended). “Edit sober” is the time-consuming disciplined writing that is far less enjoyable than the freely inspired writing that makes us want to run to the keyboard and ticky-tacky our way through a half a dozen pages of potential-Pulitzer writing.

Forced writing is the primary cause of etymological constipation (writer’s block). In its worst stages, the afflicted writer sits and stares at the blank page. “I don’t understand!” They want to scream. “I know I’m full of it–why won’t the words come out?” Do not despair! There are treatments that can help. Personally, I do not recommend the mental laxative that Hemmingway used because all laxatives can become habit forming. I have discovered an all-natural, high-fiber mental diet that is guaranteed to prevent etymological constipation as long as you don’t cheat on the diet.

Writers need to write regularly. Everyday is great! Every other day is good. Every other week means your day job, mental exhaustion, and trivial distractions are dominating the time in your life. By the time all of your other priorities are done and you sit down at the computer, you stare at the flashing cursor. It seems to say, “Well…I…am…wait…ing….”

You continue to stare at the blank page. “Gimme a minute, dammit! I know what I need to do–I mean–I know what I want to say! I’m trying to think–but nothing is happening!”

The voice of the cursor taunts, “Sorry, can’t use that last line, Curly of The Three Stooges said that. Can’t think of something original? What’s the matter, J.K.? Hold your wand backwards and ‘Stupefy’ yourself?”

DO NOT SMASH YOUR COMPUTER! Etymological constipation is a treatable disease.

First step, determine your current state of mind. If you are mentally exhausted from the day’s work then you should limit yourself to editing/improving your previous writings. Editing is one of the few tasks you can do mentally tired. I know because my editor told me that he gets so tired editing my long chapters, but he still manages to do it (or I’ll divorce him 😉

If you walked the dog in the park, ate a nice favorite meal, soaked in a hot tub to relax, sat down at the computer and find yourself staring at the blank page, what you need is a good dose of high-fiber inspiration. Yes, that’s right the pulp of paper inscribed with inspiring words is what you need. Just a page or two of high-fiber writing will break through the blockage and have those words “flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup” (John Lennon/Paul McCarney).

Need help with characters, try a little Dickens: “Mankind is my business!”

Need help with poetry, try a little Poe, “Hear the sledges with the bells, silver bells, what a world of merriment their melody foretells…”

For horror/suspense, read Stephen King. For satirical inspiration, read Mark Twain. For heart and soul, Emily Bronte. For fantasy, Susan Waterwyk (she’s my favorite!)

For extreme cases of etymological constipation, I recommend ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, by L.M. Montgomery. If you ask “why?” then you haven’t read it and/or you have “no scope for imagination!” as Anne would say. Mark Twain said that the book was “the sweetest creation of child life yet written.”

Just a few pages of high-fiber, classic word pulp can break through most writer’s blocks and keep you writing regularly. Regularity is very important in writing.

Sit by the fire, drink some tea, and remember, “Words that march in rhythm…pull the mind along.”

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November 19, 2013 · 12:24 am

One Granny, One Rake, One Acre

Okay, okay, so my hubby helps rake–but with an acre of oak leaves and pine needles, it takes two of us. Halloween day we raked for a while then I walked up the hill to check the mailbox. My favorite travel magazine was there and on the cover was a picture of Monterey California’s seacoast. It has been more than a decade since I visited Monterey. So I took a break, sat on a bench, and looked at the magazine.

Hubby was nearby combining small piles of leaves into one big pile. “What’s new?”

“Feature story about Monterey–makes me want to go there.”

“Yeah?”

“I miss living by the sea…I miss going to the beach and sitting and listening to the waves…so soothing…slow, steady, neverending….”

He stopped raking and looked at me. “Kinda like rakin’ leaves–slow, steady, neverending.”

I sighed. “So much for daydreams–magic bubble popped–back to work, Granny.”

“Sorry, didn’t mean to ruin your daydream. Let me make up for it. Close your eyes, don’t peek for one whole minute. Oh, and don’t talk–just listen.”

“Hmmm,” I closed my eyes, “I’m listening…”

A familiar sound, long, slow, whoo-oo-oosh…a pause then again, whoo-oo–oosh, a pause then again, the slow steady sound of an ocean wave breaking on a smooth sandy beach. So magical! So exact! A perfect ocean wave! I smiled, kept quiet and just listened. After a moment, I opened my eyes and saw him reaching across the leaf pile and slowly dragging leaves then lifting and letting them drop. The complex sound of hundreds of crispy oak leaves being dragged seemed identical to sound of millions of water drops hitting the sand. That clever old man had figured out a way to play a symphony of ocean waves with a pile of oak leaves!

He saw me smilling and watching him then said, “Cool, huh, sounds just like water. Now you see why I like raking leaves so much.”

“That’s great, Dear, thank you! I really needed that. I’m going inside and bring out some chicken and potato salad. Can you do that for about twenty more minutes while I have a picnic?”

Later, I went inside, and composed a new poem called “Hallow’s Eve and Falling Leaves.” It didn’t have anything to do with ocean waves. It was about other memories. He loved the poem. All in all, it was a nice quiet, magical, Halloween afternoon in the Sierra Nevada.

If you want to read the poem I composed, check the blog posted, 10/31/13 just before this one. “Hallow’s Eve and Falling Leaves” is the second of two poems I posted for Halloween.

If you like this blog and think you might like to read my new SciFi Fantasy novel, A Tale of Two Worlds, you can download a free copy for your Kindle, Nook, Apple, or computer by going to SmashWords.com and using the free Coupon Code: HX93U. But hurry! Coupon expires 11/11/13. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/368388 … 

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Two Poems for All Hallow’s Eve–Trick-or-treat

Dragonsong

Her talons clutch the parapet of crenelated towers.
Her eyes peruse the deeping gloom of mead and forest bowers.
A growl…a leap…a-loft she flies
On fervent wings in moonlit skies.
Her shadow glides along the earth to veil the spires and shallows.
Her joyous song of change is heard on this the Eve of Hallows.

Hallow’s Eve and Falling Leaves

In every falling autumn leaf
I see a memory,
A young girl singing, jumping rope,
Or swinging from a tree.

A girl in school with books and rule,
And echoes in the hall,
My locker lost among the rest
That line the endless wall.

A magic night to my delight,
A boy that likes to dance.
He holds me close…we drift and dream
Of sharing more romance.

In time we wed and share love’s bed,
And children, one, two, three
That love to sing and jump a rope,
Or climb into a tree.

So many, many memories
We shared on Hallows Eve,
But children grow and have to go
Like falling autumn leaves.

And now alone, a withered crone,
I pause my rake to see
Another falling autumn leaf…
Another memory….

Susan Waterwyk

If you enjoyed these poems and want a free ebook copy of my new SciFi
Fantasy novel, A TALE OF TWO WORLDS use this Smashwords Coupon Code: HX93U and download a free copy to your Kindle, Nook, Apple, or computer.

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November 1, 2013 · 12:55 am