Tuesday, February 28, 2012


It's a day that words don't seem to come easily - not because of writer's block but because of the tragedy of yesterday.  Columbine - Chardon - linked by a common element but one is my home.

Late last night as a storm of thoughts clogged my brain, I waited for the morning hours to scribble them down.  As writers, we often find peace in the creative chaos of our minds.  But, I was left to wonder if my silly little stories truly mattered.  Many children in our community needed the facts of real time media and counseling.  Did the make believe world that I created matter?

As I wrested with questions, I noticed that a light was on in my daughter's bedroom.  Braving a cold floor, I peeked in and found her curled with our orange tabby.  The flashing colors from her TV radiated the beautiful colors of The Little Mermaid.  My precious girl who is only too ready to be in high school turned to a familiar story for comfort.  A story where she knows there will be a happy ending and that evil will be conquered. 

It was then that I realized that the worlds we create as writers offer something precious to our readers.  A place were they can predict an ending, laugh, cry, or simply close the cover. 

I wish I could close the cover of yesterday.  Chardon is a small town.  A white-picket gazebo sits on the square where bands play in the summer.  Century old buildings face the elementary school and library.  On warm days, the fire station rolls up the large doors.  At night, you can see the clocktower that perches above the courthouse illuminated as you come into the heart of our little town.  Yesterday, the innocence melted away like our record snowfalls in April.

Tonight, I'll attend a vigil.  As snippets of stories float in my head, I won't be plagued by the notion that they are senseless.  The stories we weave give precious comfort.

I wish peace for the families involved, our schools, our law enforcement, our community.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Please Stop Writing!

The war of the reader and the writer plagues me.  As a writer, I write continually.  As a reader, I am swarmed with wonderful novels that I don't have time to pursue!  The reader would like to impose a fifty year ban on book writing that would enable me to "catch up" on the fabulous books that are already out there.  (The writer is grimacing at this suggestion.)

Besides all the great books that have yet to be read, there are the books that deserve a reread.  At different stages in our lives, a book will touch us in different ways.  A Catcher in the Rye is a wonderful example of how perspective changes.  When I was assigned this book as a high-schooler, I cheered for Holden's rebel character who thumbed his nose at adults and society.  As a "mature" reader, I think Holden was a big whiner who needed to get over himself, enroll in family therapy, and leave his little sister alone.  I never remembered being angry at Holden's parents in my younger reading days - they were merely backdrop.  Now, I see them as the fools who allowed Holden to be warped. 

I don't foresee an agreement by writers to grant me a reprieve so I guess I better start reading more.  Secretly, I love this battle.  It is a true win-win for me. :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Conference Rant

Everyone is still in post-conference glow.  But, well, I have to play Debbie-Downer for a minute.

It struck me that the new conference attendees (newbies) were in for a wake up call.  During a discussion of critiques, I noticed the smiles that could barely be contained, the sparkling eyes, the body language that screamed "the editors will LOVE my book and want to publish it tomorrow!".  Then there were the rest of us who knew the reality of the critiques.  We knew to wear alligator-like armor, push down their urge to say, "but you don't get it" to the critiquers and take it all with a grain (or bucket) of salt.  But, these poor little newbies!  Sigh.  It made me start thinking about the etiquette of the critique.  Could we have a kinder, gentler version for the new victims, I mean, attendees?  Thus was born my list of guidelines for those giving the critiques. 

1.  Do not text or talk on your cell while in the midst of giving a critique.

2.  Do not use foul f&^*(#@! language!  Really, it's not appropriate.

3.  You are NOT Miss Snark.  Miss Snark works because she's not staring you in the face.

4.  Do not wear inappropriate clothes.  We do not want to see your cleavage no matter how impressive.  Well, maybe a few of the guys do.

5.  Do not try to impress us with your Meryl Streep imitation from The Devil Wears Prada.  The sneering character eventually shows her softer side but the critiquee (new word) will never see that in fifteen minutes.  It just makes you look mean.

6.  While the world loves Simon Cowell, that show works because Paula is sitting next to him with the soft let-down.  Bring out your inner-Paula along with those biting comments.  OK, this is the same as number five but it needed to be repeated.

7.  Don't tell everyone you want a full submission.  Word gets out and then the writer's moment of elation fades as they realize EVERYONE had a full request.

8.  Honesty is the best policy...just remember that the delivery can hurt.  There are faces that I will never see again at a conference because the sting of a critiquer's words stopped them.  At this point, editors and agents will ask the question, "Well, how's that MY fault?"  You don't have to serve cupcakes with pink sugar crystals but you do have to remain professional.

9.  Don't talk about the attendees of the conference with other professionals at the bar after conference hours are over.  Guess what - all the attendees are hanging around like groupies listening to your every word.  Believe me, I've seen the Twitter stalkers...they scare me.

10.  Yes, everyone and their brother will ask you what the latest trends are.  It's better to say, "I don't know" than make up strange crap.  A paranormal romance with characters of ethnicity?  If you receive that story and you love it, good for you.  If you put the request out there, be ready for some weird stories to cross your desk.

Yes, these are true observations.

Never fear that I'm being blinded by bitterness.  My career is what I make it - I take full responsibility.  I also have learned to see the honesty in a good critique and remove myself from the emotional aspect of reviewing my writing. 

I wrote this as a rant but also because I'm haunted by the newbies.  No, I don't see dead people also.  I just wanted to make my plea for everyone to be treated with respect and a dose of kindness.  And yes, I think there should be milk and cookies and nap time again.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hello, um, it's me...again

I haven't logged onto my blogger page for months.  Looking at my statistics (come on, everyone does) I found, to my chagrin, that I received more interest upon exiting the blog-o-sphere for awhile.

Do others feel the pain of trying to be a witty blogger on a daily basis?  Maybe it's the demand to read all your followers blogs, answer comments, etc.

Funny electronic world!

It's conference time...again.  I'm looking forward to brushing elbows with my fellow writers.  Details to follow - no promise of a timely posting. (I would usually insert a sideways smiley face here but I've begun to hate them)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dear Blogger

Dear Blogger,

     It's not you, it's me.  I think you're wildly popular and all, but I find that I'm just not that into you anymore.  I haven't left you for another.  (Gulp)  It's my old love.  Yep, my real life has come between us.  We read books, watch movies with our kids, go out to dinner with our husband and take time away from the flashy life you live. 

   I will always cherish the first months of our relationship.  It was new and exciting.  Then you became demanding.  I started to feel obligated to spend time with you.  And ALL those friends that were hanging around.  Yikes!  I barely had enough time to spend with you.  They started wanting my time too.  Don't get me wrong - I think they're cool.  Actually, I spend more time with your friends than you anymore.  Sorry.

     I will never forget you and I know you'll always be there for me...waiting.  Kind of creepy but, I still think you're great.  I'm sure you will go on to conquer more hearts.

                                                                                          The New Emily
                                                                                          a.k.a. Laura

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What if Marley and Me Was Rejected?

What a great idea for an article.  Hey, wait a minute, I already wrote that!  It arrived in my inbox today from Writer's Digest. 

It makes me smile to see my little article still floating through the Internet.  It's also a gentle nudge to get back in gear and submit.