Travel Through the Pages ~ Lexa Fisher

 

 

Photo by Jake Blucker on Unsplash
 

While I no longer feel comfortable traveling, I can still visit the places I'd love to see by reading books set in those locations. 


I love books that allow me to walk down the streets, feel the weather on my skin, smell the roses, bougainvillea, or orange blossoms.

No longer having a daily commute, I  have nearly two more hours a day to indulge in exploring new genres and finding new authors to follow.

In addition to traveling to new places through books, I can also travel to times I'd love to visit. My current work in progress has backstory in the late 19th century and my research involves reading not only fictional stories set in this time, but also reading historical accounts of how people lived back then.

Online newspapers going back to the early 19th century have been extremely helpful. Products that were advertised, recipes, and small town news stories paint a detailed picture of daily life and help me create a more immersive story.

 

 

 

 

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

 

Another route I've traveled is down memory lane.This trip helps me add greater detail to my work in progress. What were my grandmothers' kitchens like, their gardens, their basements? The latter were always terrifying to this young child with their low ceilings, dim lighting, and cobwebs everywhere, heavy with dust.

Everywhere I've traveled through the books I've read this past year has been from the comfort of my own home, no reservations needed. I only need time to make a warm drink and settle in with my wonderful travel companion--Miss Bridgett. She's quite happy to sit beside me in a rocking chair as I journey through the pages.

 


Word Choice Makes All The Difference


Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado
on Unsplash

Words. We have a choice. There are over 470,000 English words to choose from according to Webster's Third New International Dictionary. Most English speakers rely on 20,000 - 30,000 to communicate verbally. Writer's may expand their word usage a bit more with the help of a thesaurus.  

Whether speaking or writing, thinking about word choice and the message we want to convey is important. 

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Word choice matters when giving directions. Have you ever been lost and stopped to ask directions and felt more confused after the person explains? Even worse, you ask directions and two or three people try to help you at the same time. 

Words are powerful and once uttered cannot be retrieved. Word choice can enhance or destroy a relationship. Have you ever thought, I didn't mean what I said?

In the words of Yehuda Berg, "Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble."


We all start out not knowing any words. As infants, we vocalize sounds. Eventually, those sounds become words. Later, those words can be strung into phrases and sentences that humans utilize for communication.  

Photo by Jan Canty on Unsplash

When we communicate in writing, we have the option of revising before we publish. I consider this an extraordinary opportunity to look at my word choice. Do I really mean he was a nice guy or can I describe my hero more vividly?   

I've taught writing for more than twenty-five years to a broad range of learners--from children as young as eight to grown-ups in their seventies. One of the areas I always emphasize, once that first draft is done, is to look at word choice. Is it a small dog or a ten pound poodle? Would she walk or saunter or march out of a room?

I'm reminded of an episode of Friends when Joey wants to support Chandler and Monica by writing a letter to the adoption agency. Joey struggles with the writing until Ross shows him how to access the online thesaurus. Naturally, the resulting letter is hilarious because Joey used the thesaurus to replace almost all of his original nouns and verbs. He had no idea about nuance. 

In writing, word choice can make the difference in a book that is well received and a book that flops.

"My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel--it is, before all, to make you see." Joseph Conrad


Interested in learning more about word choice? Join us for an online writing class on Saturday, March 27. Strategies to Jump Start Your Writing 

https://volcanoartcenter.org  


Slow Down ~ by Author Marj Ivancic

Slow down.
Pay attention.


I can’t tell you how many times I heard those two phrases in my life. They were usually preceded by some knuckleheaded move on my part. You know the kind. Moving too fast, brain elsewhere. Adding bleach to the dark laundry; scuffing the wall paint with the chair leg; knocking a glass from the counter.

But this month, I had cause to think upon those words more deeply as I wrote my father’s eulogy.

My dad was a man of thought before action, which meant he wasn’t one to suffer mistakes gladly. Yet, what I think he was really saying when he levied those parental admonishments was, “have care” or “proceed with care.”


What is it to care for something or someone?

To protect. To take responsibility for. To look after.

Weighty stuff, eh? So, why apply it to “things” like possessions?

For my dad, it wasn’t about materialism. In his mind, to care for
something required having appreciation for it. And if you appreciate something, then gratitude surely follows. And a life of gratitude is a content one.

Slow down.
Pay attention.

If you learn to be grateful for the small things, like possessions, just imagine how grateful you will be for the really important stuff—your body, your mind, your loved ones, this planet, your fellow man.

Slow down.
Pay attention.

Be in the moment. They pass too quickly, these precious moments of our lives, big and small. Appreciate those breaths, those chances we are given which show themselves in the minutes and hours of time spent with our loved ones.

Slow down.
Pay attention.

What a wonderful life philosophy. What a wonderful lesson. What a wonderful man. I am forever indebted.

Why Trains ~ by Patrick Webb

Have you ever unexpectedly fallen in love with something? That was me with trains. However, there were some moments in my childhood...