Sparked by Words

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I, the writer, engage in both boringly ordinary and sublimely spectacular moments. Same as those who don’t write. I work for financial compensation and volunteer on behalf of others. I hose down the house and muck up the garden, maintain my aged mode of transportation and renovate our humble abode, bungee jump off bridges and plunge into new experiences, practice a new language and exercise my health routine, spelunk into caverns and hike mountain peaks, sip aged wine and taste new olive oil, celebrate with family and tolerate acquaintances, curse and pray. Same as everybody, I live. (OK, maybe I’ve never bungee jumped off anything, but I’ve hopped off curbs. Perhaps I exaggerate a bit about spelunking as I’m a bit claustrophobic, and I don’t indulge in alcohol, but you get the idea about new adventures – right? As for my health routine, well, I routinely think about it.)

After all that living, I, the writer, scratch my brain, crank my imagination, and extend my fingers to write. My daily life shows up in the fun house mirror of stories. Annoying challenges reflect in the bizarre twists of fantasies. Nagging questions appear as labyrinthine mysteries. How I function in the here and now influences the exceptional world bidden by my mind, crafted by my pen. (And I always say it’s all entirely made up. Well then there’s the bungee jumping…)

I, the writer, make time. Like some nebula nursery gathering clouds of dust and gas to become new stars, I birth time to write. Stolen from housework or bill paying, filched from shopping or TV watching, borrowed from sleep, I make time each day to write. The books I read, those I write, my own blogs, and blogs of other writers get my attention on a regular basis because I make time to participate in the writing world. Whatever the debate about who may call themselves a writer or a wannabe, no one who doesn’t write can claim they do.

Writing is what I do for myself, my indulgence and my passion. It’s the raw nerve that jolts at the touch of a dandelion seed floating past my brow. I write about how that feels so you can experience it without the bruise from the fluff. (See what I take for you, dear Reader?) Writing lets me fulfill my childhood potential, kindling the blaze of glory that the young Sharon Lynne Bonin promised one day to become. Writing reminds me that, bedraggled as I am, I still have the chops to produce something of merit in my life, a legacy to leave my kids, and a story for others to savor. This is true because I live as well as write. I experience as well as observe, act and imagine.

Sometimes life catches up and runs roughshod over my plans. (Best laid plans of mice and men, and all that. Thank you, Robert Burns. I am certainly the wee beastie in a panic as the plow roars my way.) Snuffs opportunities. Routs the resources. Demands more of my percentages than I’ve ever had to post in that imploding red column. So when all that living converged in one big ball of everything happening all at once last year, I found myself as lost as if I’d been swallowed by a black hole. The swirling galaxy wasn’t all bad; it was just logjammed. Star jammed! New family member (adorable and brilliant grandchild,) more volunteer responsibilities (a chance to grow,) old obligations resurfacing (blegh!) How the hell do I find time – make time – to write when I can barely find time to eat and sleep? (Of course the sleeping has been much curtailed; the eating – not so much.) Sometimes the only thing I can do is exactly what I did this past year. I ground everything that I normally do to a complete halt and dealt with my new world order. I took off a year of writing this blog because it was the only flexible time I had that could be given up.

Starting my blog again has been more difficult than I imagined. I’m trying to build a relationship with an infant who lives 350 miles away and maintain the relationship with her older brother and her parents. Other family live nearby and I try to participate in any part of their lives where they’ll invite me. Over 600 emails throb in boldface in my inbox, most of them blog posts from other writers, and I’ll eventually read all. I’ve missed a year of articles I should have written for my personal blog and worry that my followers, feeling abandoned, have abandoned me. Three books each need my effort in the query department so I can catch the attention of potential agents and see them on their publication launches.

Welcome to my expanding solar system. Please hang tight while I figure out the orbital coordinates. Hello old world, hello new.

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Comments on: "Writing at the End of Time" (40)

  1. Life is a never-ending shifting of priorities, isn’t it? Some weeks writing gets to be my priority; others it’s lucky to get snatches of time here and there. But even a little bit of progress is better than no progress at all, right? 🙂

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    • Carrie, I struggled with a word in one of my books, the reaction of N to K. About two dozen re-writes trying out word after word, and I finally found the one word that truly fit and made the entire first section explode. Fireworks instead of a pop. That one word is sometimes the only word I’ll get in a day, but sometimes it’s the only one I need to feel I’ve written and all is right with the world – for that one day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I read your admission to what your daily life entails and I sighed, thinking this is why I love her, and then by the end of the first paragraph I was laughing and thinking…no, this is why I love her. Shari, my prayer for you is one of simple moments with those you hold so dearly. Your family is blessed to have you in their lives.

    I’m thankful I made it back in time to enjoy you pulling full steam ahead. ♡

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    • Thank you, Audrey. You know I love you too, and was so thrilled for your return to your blog. I probably made my life sound bleak, but just so you know I live much joy as well, here’s a tiny tale of the other part of my life.

      Hubby and I had a task to accomplish. Actually, him being a great photographer and having lots of equipment, he photographed something for me and for a friend who’s doing a very important job for me. Took a long drive to the location – you know the old adage, “location, location, location.” Then we spent hours of dragging lights around with multiple extension long cords plugged into sockets and one of those multi-socket outlet strips, and opening and closing blinds and drawers and doors and whisking our shadows out of the photos. Hubby took more than 100 photos, and is getting paid 100 times bupkes for his work which adds nada to our retirement fund, but it will help me out in a roundabout way to get something “taken care of.”

      Am I being obscure enough to cover the arse ends of the guilty whom I’m not naming here, for taking care of a necessary activity that I got sucked into and arse-ends are benefiting from? It’s OK if you don’t connect all the dots, just wanted you to see part of my day, and also hubby’s and the one other very sweet person who was present at photo activity. Did I mention that hubby is a class one Mensch?

      So we finally all drove to our house, a bit bedraggled and stuffed to the kishkehs because we’d stopped to eat breluner – the one meal where you fill yourself with a single meal serving as breakfast, lunch, and dinner because you didn’t get to eat earlier, and you’ll never want to eat again, breluner being enormous.

      Ten minutes after arriving home, plunking photos into the computer, older son came over with our wonderful daughter-in-law (one of two, we are incredibly blessed) and two of our four precious grands, one of the boys and one of the girls. And they spread the feast they’d brought to share, which the three of us who’d been photographing could not touch a bite of because one breluner is more than anyone can shove down the gullet no matter how appealing the feast before you. Well, before us. But we Sated Three sat with the Hungry Four and laughed and joked and spilled and sopped and talked about nothing and everything and thoroughly enjoyed the evening until the kids started falling over from too much food and too much tired and tomorrow is a school day for them and a work day for the adults. So everybody bundled up the left over feast and we packed the grands and their parents and the rest of the food into the car and sent them home to bed.

      That was the absolute very best meal I ever didn’t eat in my entire life. I wanted you to know, Audrey, that I do indeed enjoy the full steam ahead. And I still don’t really bungee jump. But don’t tell the other arse ends at the edge of the cliff. I just may give them a little – push. 😀

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      • No matter how many times I read this I still wish I had been along this day…there aren’t enough sighs, ughs, growling tummies, moaning backs or loud giggles to keep me from wishing for a day like this. I do hope I read this enough so that I can connect all the dots. Must needs to know, my friend. Thank you for sharing your day with me. Means so very much to me. You’re amazing. Truly.

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      • Audrey, you be careful what you wish for. I made the most of the crazy day, of the crazy year in fact, but it was a truly excruciating past year, and there were times I wasn’t sure I could force my foot one step further than it had already moved. I found myself breathless and terrified many nights and woke without rest and without a calm pulse in my veins. I cannot reveal the details because the whole year’s turmoil involved other people, some of whom are unable to advocate for themselves. I don’t give a damn Yankee about exposing the guilty parties but the person who can’t provide self-defense doesn’t deserve to be thrust into the spotlight. However, sweet Upside Down Dawn, I know you also faced nearly the same 365 with your own hand and heart in some tornado you couldn’t escape. And I know you’re slowly revealing the open wound that shattered you, and how you repaired it, at least that which you choose to tell. May neither of us have to face such pain again, but if we do, we have one experience on which to draw strength and our friendship with each other to lend the shoulder. You’re amazing. Truly.

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      • I tried for 9 years to forgive the affair that destroyed my 10 year old marriage. Moved 17 hours away from family so I could be a better wife, putting my husband first, and worked hard at being the wife God had asked me to be. All I did was allow the distrust and lies to continue. Filing for divorce in September left me feeling like I’d let my family, children and God down. I’m slowly accepting the fact that I had nothing to do with his affair. For too many years I accepted my part in his straying and tried to be the woman he needed me to be so he wanted to be a better man. I finally had to come to terms with nothing I did would change him and it had to be his decision. He was envious of the love our children received from me and then used them to fight me in the divorce. His money couldn’t keep them from me. I may be back in Nebraska, learning to live on my own again, but I have the two most precious people with me. Still sad to see a marriage fail after 18 years, but I don’t regret my decision. Finally allowing myself to breathe and strive for new beginnings. I’ll be okay.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Audrey, I carried your comment in my heart all day, unsure how to respond to you. With sincere sympathy of course, for all the misery you’ve gone through. It’s one thing to talk about divorce (or death or illness or addiction) in universal terms, but something else entirely to reply to a friend about an event so personal and devastating. I can’t tell you anything to assure you that you did your best or that it’s going to be better or that this will be the most awful thing you’ll ever have to live through. I know you through your poetry, stories, and photography. What I’ve encountered is a sensitive, funny, smart, and genuine person who delights in seeing the world a bit differently than what most of the rest of us see. I also know that a marriage is two people who aren’t always in sync with each other, that marriage takes a ton of compromise (which is rarely 50/50,) and that the end of a marriage can be instigated by one person, proof that the union has already been destroyed. Wishing you peace with all that’s happened, and happiness for the future.

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      • Thank you, Shari. Sorry for my late reply. I spent a week in Estes Park, CO.

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      • I’m grateful for any reply from anyone, late, early, don’t even know what on time might be, but a reply from a friend is always welcome. Thank you, Audrey. I love Colorado – lived there a short time many years ago, and our younger son and his wife lived there about 3 years, their first child born in Boulder. Beautiful state, especially the western part. Hope you had a great time in Estes Park.

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  3. 600 emails! Good grief–go into the manage utility and have blog posts arrive only once a week. Then you just devote a Sunday to answering and visiting–like a staycation, visiting so many other worlds. I’m working my way through 1400 that arrived while I was out of town. My brain is frazzled and I still have 400 left.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMG – that’s why I usually just delete everything after a vacation, and never look back. I know that’s terrible, but I can’t keep up. Well, Jacqui, don’t let me keep you from enjoying your day to the fullest. On to number 399 for you. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “(See what I take for you, dear Reader?)”
    You are indeed a true blogged-down friend!!!!!

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  5. I know exactly how you feel. Every morning a cold thick inbox awaits me with hundred of email notifications. It forced me to post less on my blog to be able to devote more time to my family, manuscripts, and reading other blogs. You know what I have learned after two weeks of blogging less, there are just as many posts to read and that is what consumes most of my time. Best of luck in your time management efforts.

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    • A close friend recently attended a well regarded writer’s conference and graciously shared updates about what’s currently expected from agents and editors. One is that writers, especially those of us not yet known, must have a blog that consistently exhibits our writing chops. So it’s no longer mainly a forum for sharing thoughts and discoveries amongst ourselves, but also a showcase for our work to those who can help us get published. I also feel, like you, Andrew, that I’m sacrificing time I need to spend on my stories and getting the word out to agents to make my blog as outstanding as I can, and to communicate respectfully with other bloggers. As much as I enjoy the blogging world for the social contacts with like minded people, I need to devote myself to the books I’m hoping to publish. So the conundrum: how to concoct more time to accomplish more. (And of course, there is the other part of the real world, with family and friends, employment, household issues, and personal health – Life 101.) I keep wondering – how did Shakespeare do it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not sure, I believe Shakespeare didn’t post to his blog very often, but don’t quote me on that. When you throw in the reading of other blog posts, it is an impossible task. I am tinkering with different methods for keeping up with posts. I will let you know what works for me. Thank you for the update on what agents are looking for. Right now, I’m prepping my screenplays for contests that would automatically open doors in LA. I’m trying to slowly shift to more short stories on my blog. I will begin to post little scenes of my manuscripts, too. Right now, I am in the forest for the trees mentality. Stepping back to analyze. We will get there.

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      • That sounds like a plan with diverse options, a good strategy. Have you thought about submitting to magazines that publish short stories? I think Shakespeare might have gotten his start in the local magazines.

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      • Sorry to bore you with details, but I decided to blog less often to prepare an all out assault to be “discovered”:

        1- Manuscripts to literary agents.
        2- Manuscripts to book publishers
        3- Scripts to LA agents.
        4- Scripts to screenplay contests.
        5- Short stories to magazines.

        One way or another.

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      • Andrew, this isn’t boring at all. I’m always interested in what other writers do to promote their work. I think you have a good plan here. Do you mind if I ask how you choose the agents to whom you send work? My biggest bugaboo is writing queries – I’ve been working on this task for the past 3 months. As you say, one way or another.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Seriously queries kill all writers. It makes me wonder how many great books are unpublished because the author doesn’t know how to write a strong query. There are so many differing books & thoughts on the subject. What one agent expects may be different from another. My method is to learn everything I can about an agent I will query & tailor it to him/her
        But it hasn’t worked for me. By no means this is to brag but my sci-fi screenplay Paradox was read by a NYU Professor who works with Robert Dinero & New Line Cinema. This is how he inspired me after reading my script, “Ask yourself one question. Don’t ask if this will be a movie. Ask yourself when this will be a movie.” A few years ago I entered that script in a sci-fi contest. With more than 2500+ entries it was one of the ten selected as a semi-finalist. That is what keeps the fire burning inside. I realize I am terrible at queries and that path is extremely difficult. But the fire keeps burning.
        So, I just keep plugging away.

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      • I’ve read several articles about queries and my most favorite was a post from a well known blogger who is a published author and has been an agent – in other words, someone well connected with the publishing industry. He said that the query that got his agent’s attention was the one where he wrote about agent’s favorite baseball team. In other words, a comment based on inside info and one that had nothing at all to do with his book. Yes, queries are an absolute crap shoot. It isn’t that I can’t write them – it’s that I have no idea what tidbit of idiotic drivel will catch the attention of an agent. Imagine if the successful flight of a 747 were dependent on the brand of gum chewed by the passenger in seat 29 B.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Chimp laughing so hard he is in tears. “Idiotic drivel.” Well, I will pay more attention when searching for this. LOL It is such a pleasure chatting with you. Let me know if need help? What genre do you write? Do you know the appropriate resources (pages) to search for the right agent?

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      • Please don’t cry. Turquoise Face doesn’t want to see Chimp’s fur all wet.

        Actually, I’d love to take you up on the potential agent resource offer as I seem to be doing a hit or miss approach to this, nearly all miss. I write historical fiction (the book that placed so high in the ABNA competition) and literary fiction (two books.) I read Shark Query, a site I find really useful, though they know nothing about baseball teams. Thank you.

        Andrew, I always look forward to your posts and your comments, wherever they show up. *: )

        Liked by 1 person

      • I will get my info togather and I will get back to you. We will not quit.

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      • Andrew, I know you’re extremely busy. Please don’t feel an obligation to do this until your schedule lightens up, even if it takes a year or five. I have a few resources of my own.

        Liked by 1 person

      • We can network, perhaps you have some I don’t know of. Give me a week or two. Be well.

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      • I like this idea.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I sympathize completely with the time thing. I’ve had to back away from Twitter recently because of the pressure from both blogging and returning retweets was too much for me to handle along with writing, too.

    I’ve decided to go SP instead of trade publishing at least for now because my short experience with querying has shown me that I’m not suited for it.

    Every now and again I take some time away and remind myself why I’m doing this. But mostly, every spare minute I have when I can concentrate is used for writing. (Interesting sidebar–I can only concentrate for about twelve hours with any degree of useful productivity. After that, my eyes just gloss over weak verbs.)

    I wish you nothing but success in figuring out your own time priorities. And in querying. 🙂

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    • I’ve never done Twitter or linked my blog to a Facebook account. After the awful experience of a friend who found her FB account hacked and her blog identity hijacked, I’m even more leery of trying it.

      I’m not completely refuting the SP route but I want to give traditional publication a true run for the finish. Like you, I have a reason I write and it isn’t just to look in the mirror and acknowledge my number one fan.

      Twelve hours? That is monumental, Cathleen. I’ve managed a bunch of 6 – 8 hours, and I like this amount of time, every once in a while a 10 hour stretch, but 12 – I think I’d be puree by then.

      Thank you so much for the support; you know I wish the same writing success for you. Are you working on a new book?

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  7. Trying to keep up with blogposts is such a nightmare, isn’t it? I just couldn’t read everything that turned up, much as I wanted to. In the end, I just had to do as best I could in the time available. It’s rather haphazard and far from ideal, but I’m not sure how else to do it.

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    • You have a lot of followers, Bun. Not surprising as folks love reading humor especially when it’s intelligent. Most of the people I follow haven’t bothered to take a look at my blog, far as I know. I’m a bit like the kid who threw a party and no one came. Oh well, I refuse to Twitter or Facebook with this blog, and I understand that’s the way to increase traffic. Still, even for me, it’s a lot to keep up with all the posts and comments on other people’s blogs, so sometimes I don’t. You deal just fine.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know if it’s the best way to handle it or not, but my first priority is always to respond to anyone who visits my site. If I have any time left after that, I go looking at the blogs of some followers, but usually beginning with ones that I know visit my site from time to time. I almost never finish this part, but on the rare occasions that I do (such as if it’s a national holiday), I’ll pop in to have the look at the sites of people who follow me but never seem to visit or comment. That’s pretty rare, though. I’d like to do more, but there is literally not enough time for that. I’d need 48 hour days to even attempt it. 🙂

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      • I follow other folk’s blogs the same way. Those who read mine, I always respond to, though I follow many more people than follow me. It’s been suggested that my posts are longer than a lot of people want to read and that is likely true. I hit close to 1000 words, but 500 word posts are better liked. I also read several blogs that are really well written and informative, the group I consider more professional. Sadly, some of my favorites are no longer active. I guess it gets to be a bigger responsibility than can be consistently maintained. I dislike phone and blog solicitors and stay away from those who advertise their services for a fee. Still, I find most of the community delightful.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m in much the same boat. My posts come in at about 1000 words or so. I also follow far more blogs than follow mine. I’m sure I follow a lot that no longer exist too. At some point, I should go through and try to sort it all out, but everything on WordPress seems to take so much time. 🙂

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      • And all this info from Make WordPress Core drives me nuts. “Major performance overhaul and new functions” described in numerical detail. So much technical stuff. If it’s meant to assist us everyday bloggers, why don’t they write it so we non-techs can understand it? Reading it feels like sorting out tangles in my hair only to throw handfuls of broken strands in the trash. OK, nuff said about that. Would rather spend my time writing. A fruitful day wished for you, Bun.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, the technical side of WordPress is tough. I can barely understand any of it. Anyway, I hope you have a great day and week too. 🙂

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