Random Wednesday: Write What You Know?

The age old advice: Write what you know. This comes into question frequently enough and the answer of whether or not this is true is “yes” with a “but.”

In the Game of Thrones series George R. R. Martin lived near an international shipping port and found it fascinating to learn the different flags of each ship traveling through. This comes to mind all the various scenes of flags or banners being highlighted to represent different houses in his books which are similar but yet, quite different than European coat of arms. But, I don’t believe he has ever met a dragon.

It is widely known J. K. Rowling took a very real life feeling of loneliness and depression transformed it into a soul eating creature called a Dementor in Harry Potter. She also might be a witch but it’s not likely.

Douglas Adams wrote a humorous story of Arthur Dent in Hitchhickers Guide and made the human species virtually extinct while questioning the meaning of life as nothing more than a trivial curiosity. That’s not such a far fetched idea from an out spoken atheist and environmentalist who focused his attention on endangered species preservation. But, he never had intergalactic space travels with or without a towel.

What each one of these authors did was took something they knew and transformed it into something creative. Let’s focus back on George R. R. Martin. Or GRRM for short. Each family is fighting over control of Westoros and they are all very clearly identified by their flag. It’s the major defining symbolism of each family and some have a lot of members to keep track of. GRRM could have picked any type of way to identify them but, he took something he knew would work. He took a real life image. A subject he is extremely familiar with. He used his knowledge of flags and their meaning to help the reader understand the political boundaries of an imaginary world. This imagery was so successful if you take one quick google of Game of Thrones you’ll find images of wolves, lions, stags, and dragons almost immediately. All of which represents the clear divide in houses. Even while I was reading the first book I could not pronounce Daenerys Targaryan until I watched the TV show. I could however, tell you her house banner was a dragon. These banners became something to root for, like a team mascot. Even now, you can go on amazon.com or thinkgeek.com and find your favorite house banner on a t-shirt or mug.

While those are some well known authors and stories, I’m going to bring the same thought process to the literary fiction novel I am currently reading called The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont.

I do not know much about this author. To be honest, this book was a random library find. The title caught my attention as I’ve mentioned previously, I enjoy being on boats, and after reading the jacket, the story caught my attention to check it out. As I’m reading I’m finding the main character is a sailor and very knowledgeable about being on water. While I’m not expert by any means, if this author was faking her knowledge I would know. I don’t believe she is. If she grew up on boats, studied them, simply has a lot of interest and respect for them, I’m not sure. What’s clear is – she knows what she is writing about. This could easily have been a make or break the book for me. If I started reading this and found the author was making up what she thought about boats, I would have returned the book to the library in favor of another. Rather, I’m finding this book to very thoughtful, filled with emotion and what sold me to keep reading is a minor detail. She understood how boating makes you feel, how tranquil it is, and how dangerous it can be. Her talent as a writer is using boating and sailing as a metaphor for the struggles the main character can not fully communicate or understand. It was imperative she knew what she was writing about to make this successful. And let me tell you – she did.

If you are going to get into the art of writing first remember – it takes a lot of practice. When it comes to the advice of “write what you know,” don’t confuse this saying with limitations. Writing what you know is what allows the reader to connect with what you are trying to say using an idea they will understand. Without any connection it’s all just Vogon poetry.

That’s my opinion, don’t forget to visit the other girls to see their take on this weeks Random Wednesday topic:

Jessica Jarman

Bronwyn Green

Gwendolyn Cease

Kellie St. James

Kris Norris

Paige Prince

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Evolve: T-Shirt Contest

I fully support my husbands involvement and dedication to the gaming community. He’s a really awesome person and I’m very proud of everything he has achieved. But, I’ll only play Minecraft with him because he kicks my ass at everything else. There was a time I beat a level of Call of Duty on one try when it took him several and I’m still extremely proud of that moment. Oh, and let’s not talk about Dance Central (that’s my game) however, when it comes to Evolve, this man is purely dedicated. Turtle Rock forum, playing almost daily, a major obsession in contributing to each online contest even if it’s just for a few hours, books, and I’m fairly certain we even have Evolve bracelets floating around our house. He really loves everything gaming and it’s about community involvement and being part of a team among all things.
Being a time player he always is (unless he is playing as a monster, I’ve seen it, he is ruthless) he has decided to contribute to a t-shirt competition and I think his t-shirt design is really amazing. I asked him to share his accomplishment with me so I can share it with you. Please read below about this competition and go vote!
Message from the husband:
Hi…please excuse this bit of shameful self-promotion…
I entered a design contest for the game Evolve.  I would really appreciate your vote if you have a minute.  The link to my design is below, registration to the site is required but it should only take a few seconds, afterwards if you would kindly rate my design (5 stars is preferred ^__^ ) I would ever so grateful!

http://community.welovefine.com/m/contests/design/37549

Thank you!!!

Here is an excerpt on rating from the WeLoveFine FAQ:

The ratings period has begun but I can’t rate designs, I get taken to a registration page!

You must also be registered on the site in order to rate designs. Again, it only takes a few seconds, and once you are registered you won’t have to do it again.

I don’t know how to rate? 

In order to rate there is a star rating under each design. The number of stars will turn blue to represent the rating you would like to give per design.

1 star is the lowest score, 5 stars is the highest.

Woopsies! I accidentally rated this wrong, can I change my vote?

Unfortunately no, once a vote has been made, we can’t change it on our end.

Random Wednesday: I Spend Too Much Time…

There are not enough hours in the day to spend too much time on something. At least, this is how I feel.

I barely get the recommended amount of sleep. I eat well but not as well as I should. I count chores as exercise because as long as I’m not sitting and keep moving, I believe that counts. I’m at work for nine hours a day and spend two to four hours making dinner, doing chores, or caring for my daughter (bath time, hair styling, lecturing on the importance of eating pork chops, etc.)

We don’t have cable, we make “movie dates” just to watch a single hour long show on Netflix, and we’ll not discuss the last time I washed my hair or did something for myself like, take the time to have a bubble bath.

I told my husband about today’s topic and he responded with, “I’m not sure what you spend too much time doing…”

That makes two of us.

My daughter has made a recent habit of coming into our room when she can’t sleep. Most of the time she walks heavy enough and I know she is coming. But, she got me once, standing at the edge of the bed whispering, “Mom” in this soft little voice that scared the living bejesus out of me when I opened my eyes to see a second pair staring straight at my face. I know it’s 3am and I should kick her back into her bed. I don’t. I lift the blankets and let her in. The truth is I don’t get to hug her nearly enough and if that means cuddling with mom for a little while until she gets tired and wanders off to her room. I’m okay with it.

And weekends, the weekends are family time. Swim lessons, painting, visiting the library, playing dress up, making cookies, and even smashing kites to pieces. Yeah…it was air born at one point but long story short the kite lasted about 20 minutes. I would be lying if I didn’t say there may be another kite from amazon.com coming our way for this next weekend as replacement.

Even then, I feel like I should do more. Spend more time with my family and for myself. Spend more time keeping up the house and brushing out the dog because no one warned me ahead of time how much corgis shed. They shed, a lot. However, I get a lot of reinforcement on how I’m on the right path. My daughter’s teacher complimented us after a conference saying, “You can tell who spends time with their kids at home and who doesn’t. It’s clear, you spend a lot of time with her.” And my husband lecturing me, “I will hound you all week if you do not go to the writers conference. You need to get out and do these things for yourself. Even if there is stuff do to around the house. It can wait.”

So, to address the topic, I spend too much time worrying how I am going to do all the things I need, should, and want to do with the little time I have.

And for the curious, I wrote my flash fiction piece for last Monday while sitting on the bathroom floor playing Katy Perry’s Firework on repeat for my daughter to sing to at the top of her lungs while she took a bath.

I wrote this post during my work lunch break and yes, I’ve had to answer a few emails while doing so.

But, now that I’ve mentioned it, a bubble bath does sound pretty nice. I’ll try to schedule an hour in -flips through calendar- around mid May.

Please visit the other girls and read what they spend too much time on:

Jessica Jarman

Bronwyn Green

Kris Norris

Kayleigh Jones

Kellie St. James

Gwendolyn Cease

Paige Prince

Flash Fiction Song Prompt: What I See

I’m not sure who picked this song but a heads up about the music video being eight minutes long and the song not starting until five minutes in, would have been nice. I thought Trent Reznor got carried away once in a while but dear lord…these guys were really carried away and jamming in their own little world when this song was made.

The song is “I will Possess Your Heart” by Death Cab for Cutie. I had some particular thoughts after hearing the song, all eight minutes, and reading the lyrics. Those thoughts mostly consisted of anger toward a really long video but, it was enough for me to come up with an idea for this flash fiction exercise. Check out the participating bloggers listed below and I hope you enjoy my piece which I’ve titled What I See:

Jessica Jarman

Bronwyn Green

Gwendolyn Cease

Kris Norris

What I See

Dear Ami,

I understand what you are thinking and I’m scared too. Everything is going really fast and I know you have a boyfriend. Just please, listen to what I have to say because it’s very important.

When we met at at Chloe’s party I felt an instant connection to you. Your boyfriend was late and you were annoyed and upset. I would never do that to you by the way. Before he showed up we talked about movies and people we knew. We connected and I’m sure you felt it. It was a spark. An instant spark. The kind of spark you wait for and only experience once in a lifetime. Then this long haired hipster christian Jesus freak showed up smoking a cigar. I couldn’t believe that was him. The boyfriend who stood you up. I don’t know what you see in him but I promise you, I can be so much better if you just give me the chance.

I didn’t know you in high school and no, I’m not into church. Is this what’s put me at a disadvantage? Or is it because you’ve been with him for so long you are too afraid to let go of someone who just isn’t right for you? I see it. You have to see it. If not, let me reinforce this much – I am the person for you, not him.

There are so many things I can provide, timeliness would be one thing. Also, I don’t smoke and I’m working my way through school. My friends say I’m a nice guy and I try to be helpful. Volunteering  for charities and listening to my friends, being there when they need me. Just like I was there for you at the party.

You’re beautiful, kind, and we have so much in common. The image of you floats through my mind all day from your the cute little way you wear your hair in a bun to the tan slip on shoes with tiny scuff marks on the toe.

I know letters probably aren’t your thing but I haven’t been able to reach you on texts. I’ve tried and we texted a few times but you said you were busy a lot, mentioned your boyfriend a few times, and then stopped talking to me. I’m not sure what happened or if you broke your phone or something. I talked to Chloe a little bit too. She only said you’ve been busy and you take school and your boyfriend pretty seriously. You might not have much time for me. But I know Chloe is friends with your boyfriend too so, I take what she says with a grain of salt.

Listen, I don’t want to do it this way and I know it’s unprofessional for me to show up at your work as you’ve told me before. I apologize in advance for having to do this but, I don’t know any other way to give you this letter.

I love you, Ami. You just need to see what I see. Give me a chance. We’re meant to be. Come find me. I’ll always be there for you. Watching you. Waiting for you. Patiently, passionately, and unconditionally.

See what I see, Ami.

We are meant to be.

-KC

Random Wednesday: A Thank You Note

I want to express my gratitude to you.

You came into my life years ago but have stood by me each and every day. When I’m feeling stressed, anxious, depressed, and even when I’m having good day, you still know how to bring a smile on my face show me how things aren’t that bad and how the good, can be better. Each year, renewing my love for you, pages in time, bright and new with so much promise and devotion of New Years Day.

Sure, you let me tear you a new one daily but it’s always in jest and some days you give right back with corporate humor that is funny but stings a little with accuracy. Once in a while things get weird with the Elbonians but after some time I can always rely on you to get us back to the water cooler and the average scuttlebutt.

But what’s most important of it all is, you mean something to me. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate you and how there hasn’t been a day you have let me down. This is why I am thanking you. Thank you for being there for me. I don’t know what I would ever do without you.

My Dilbert Page-a-Day Calendar.

20150407_134733

Visit the other bloggers to see what they are thankful for this Wednesday.

Jessica Jarman

Bronwyn Green

Kris Norris

Kelly St. James

Gwendolyn Cease

Paige Prince

Flash Fiction: Starting Here

This is another installment of our image inspired flash fiction. Below are a list of participating bloggers and my entry for this week. Hope you enjoy!

Jessica Jarman

Bronwyn Green

Kayleigh Jones

Gwendolyn Cease

Kris Norris

Paige Prince

04-2015- CoupleNight

I admit I was frightened and a little embarrassed. She on the other hand, kept a brave face as was her style. Polite smiles, polite conversation, and polite gestures.  Her dress shoes were polished and her hair, in a long loose auburn waves, fell over her shoulders. Nothing was out of place from the collar of her blouse to her perfectly lined white teeth. I, on the other hand, was sweating. Profusely I might add. A lock of hair kept falling in my eye and I could see it starting to curl from the humidity. I kept my jacket on, afraid of the moisture showing on my clothes and the wrinkles that may have now set in. My car was burning oil and if she noticed, she said nothing, though I could see the plumes of dark exhaust billowing in the review mirror. The cabin we were going to was still twenty minutes out. Well, it was called “the cabin” by my friends and I but really it was a house in a lake side neighborhood were people lived year round. This house had a cabin motif which set it apart from the rest. Elk head on the wall, dark wood panel interior, stuffed pheasants on the river stone fireplace mantel. Let’s not forget the wood carving of the bear in the front yard eating a fish that stood taller than myself. Or the large mouth bass mailbox perched precariously on the roadside.

She had never been out to the cabin before and I had never taken a girl to the cabin with me. This was a first for both of us. I had nothing to offer her. I was working hard but it was barely enough to keep my head above water. School was expensive. Very expensive. Someday I would be able to do things right and while I worked and waited, I had to improvise. A girl like her seemed fitting for a night out at a restaurant with actual table cloths and waiters who knew what side the plethora of forks went on and what side was home to the knives. Money was too tight to afford a proper date as proper she was, sitting in the seat next to me. Legs crossed at the ankles rather than the knees like a picture from an etiquette book. Instead the idea came from a suggestion. “Let’s have a couples night at the cabin.” If things are a little tense, there are other couples to talk to. If things go well, pull some chairs out to the lake side, keep warm with a shared blanket. Talk about the stars no longer drowned out by the city lights, shining and flickering distant suns.

I rolled down the window just a bit while she talked about how her and her sister never went camping due to her sisters sensitive allergies and how excited she was to be going to the cabin. The breeze from the evening was a welcome chill on my sweaty brow. Her hair began to blow and stick to her face. Before I could reach the handle to roll the window up she lifted her arm gracefully and pulled her hair over her shoulder, giving it a little twist, and held on to it while she continued her story. The wind no longer pulling more than a few strands free which she chose to ignore or simply did not notice. About then is when the engine light turned on and the car started to choke. I just was not going to get this night right.

“I think we should probably pull over.” She said after a calm pause.

I nodded, a lump in my throat and the whites of my knuckles showing as my hands clench the steering wheel. The car came to a rest at the side of the road and with the engine turned off I knew there was little chance it would start up again. I rolled up the window and though we were stopped, and the breeze had gone, she still held her hair over her shoulder with a twist and a grin on her face.

“I’m sorry.” Was the only phrase that came to mind.

“For what? Cars break down all the time. Let’s walk. If anything, maybe someone else heading that way will see us and give us a ride. But a walk sounds nice.” Opening the car door she get’s out and stands in the twilight motioning for me to follow.

I follow her feeling foolish though the fresh air is welcome, this wasn’t the situation I saw myself in when role playing the evening in my imagination. To my surprise she picks up the conversation were she had left off explaining how the size of the welts her sister would get from mosquito bites were obscenely large. But as much as she talked on, filling the silence, I could not stand the tension building up from my embarrassment.

“Listen. I’m sorry. I’m sorry this is not the best date and I have an old car. I’m trying and I can’t say I’m sorry enough if this isn’t what you had in mind and I’m disappointing you. You don’t need to be polite. I understand. Really, I do.”

She stopped and turned to me, pulling my hands into hers. “Starting here, stop apologizing. Stop acting like you have something to prove. You don’t. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to be.”

“I just…”

“…want to walk with me? On a nice evening? Alone with the stars and the breeze? Good. Because that’s what I want to do with you right now.” With my hand in hers she leads me down the road, finding any way she can to make me laugh, and smile in the way only she can make me smile.

Eventually she let go of my hand and locked her arm in mine and we walked on for a time before a friend passed us and offered a ride. But through out the night I looked at her differently. I noticed her hair also curled in heavy air and she didn’t mind getting her shoes dirty by the lake side. She also had a little snort when she laughed I had never heard before and she covered her mouth every time it escaped. This is the day I’ll never forget. Starting here, she really was the perfect person. More so than I ever imagined.

Random Wednesday: Season – Five Favorite Things

My thoughts on this topic:

Are we talking five favorite things about my favorite season or five favorite things about spring? Which, based on the amount of dog poop I’ve picked up since the snow melted, is not my favorite season. But it is spring and if you guys really wanted to hear about my favorite season we’d be talking about the end of the year and you know, I’m not ready to talk about that just yet. It’s only April. I suppose that means I can go with option number two, what are my five favorite things about spring. Hint: does not involve dog poop.

Favorite thing about spring #1: Birds singing. That’s pretty awesome right? When you start to hear the birds again you know it’s going to get better from here on out. They are the sign I look for to tell me that winter is official over.

Favorite thing about spring #2: Rain. Okay, here is the deal. When it snows it’s usually silent. You might have some wind but for the most part snow is sneaky. Very sneaky. Like those days when you peak out of the window early in the morning and let out a, “JESUS HAROLD CHRIST THAT’S A LOT OF SNOW!” Only to come to the realization you did not wake up early enough to clear the drive way and arrive to work 45 minutes late looking like hell, with the excuse, “Pfff…traffic.” Rain however, you do hear. You know exactly what is happening outside. And the best part – it does not involve a shovel. An umbrella and maybe some rain boots at most but, no shovel, snow thrower, or window scrapper.

Favorite thing about spring #3: Going outside for a walk. The dog appreciates getting out more when it’s warmer too. Though he does enjoy snow, he is a low profile model dog. That means he hops through the snow like a bunny. I imaging his inner dialog consists of, “Cold penis!” *hop* “Cold penis! *hop* “Cold penis!* *hop*. We don’t have this issue in the spring and by this time we both can use a little exercise. However cold penis becomes muddy penis. It’s because he kicks up dirt when he walks. Where was your mind at?

Favorite thing about spring #4: Cleaning and purging. I don’t like stuff. Which is really good for our local goodwill. It doesn’t just happen during the spring, we clean and purge all year round. However, spring is the best time to tackle the garage, shed, and finally get the windows clean as well as the detritus that blows into our yard after the snow melt and gets hung up in are sad little stick plants that have yet to bloom for the year. We still have several more months before those guys perk up a bit.

Favorite thing about spring #5: GAME OF THRONES SEASON PREMIERE! Sing it with me…

This is my entry for random Wednesday. You know where to go from here.

Gwendolyn Cease

Bronwyn Green

Jessica Jarman

Paige Prince

Kris Norris