Posts tagged ‘Writing writers and stuff we like’

2017, December 1

Curious Holiday List time

As I did when first introducing this cute little idea-book years ago, I’ll share one of the list titles from the book and the content I came up with. Then, You let me know in the comment section what Your lists would look like.

I opened the book to page 109 and then chose the upper-right title, from the chapter “Lists for Holidays”.

I really have no clue what words might actually be uttered at a Shakespeare Society holiday party, but the below were the quotes I thought of when associating Shakespeare and the holiday season.

Quotes uttered at a ‘Shakespeare Society’ Holiday Party:

  • At Christmas I no more desire a rose
    Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled mirth;
    ~Love’s Labours Lost (Act 1, Scene 1)
  • I see the trick on’t: here was a consent,
    Knowing aforehand of our merriment,
    To dash it like a Christmas comedy:
    Some carry-tale, some please-man, some slight zany,
    ~Love’s Labours Lost (Act Five, Scene 2)
  • SLY. Marry, I will; let them play it. Is not a comonty a Christmas gambold or a tumbling-trick?
    PAGE. No, my good lord, it is more pleasing stuff.
    ~The Taming of the Shrew (Intro, scene 2)
  • Have I lived to be carried in a basket, like a
    barrow of butcher’s offal, and to be thrown in the
    Thames? Well, if I be served such another trick,
    I’ll have my brains ta’en out and buttered, and give
    them to a dog for a new-year’s gift…
    ~Merry Wives of Windsor (Act 3, Scene 5)

Our modern conception of Christmas is more tied to “A Christmas Carol”, by Charles Dickens rather than Shakespeare.

Back in the court of Elizabeth I, Christmas and New Year weren’t celebrated as we do today.
Christmas was popularized in England when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert started following many of the German Christmas traditions about 200 years after the death of Shakespeare.

Your turn. Ready? Go! :)

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2016, December 9

What do You gift writers?

2016 is nearly over and I’d like to thank every single one of my readers for making it such an amazing one, and my bloggy friends who have filled it with so much awesome blogging, flash fiction, poems and even essays to read, each week!

Here’s wishing you all an early Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

tea-book-gift

As for my blog post’s title? I wrote this back in 2011 for FFDO, but wanted to share here on my own blog now since that website closed.

This is the season of gift giving, and more often than not, we end up with gifts we like, but which aren’t too related to our field. When I give a gift I like to really think about what the person would enjoy and use. Shopping for writers is rather easy, in my opinion, as we all have access to the basics.

While I do not personally have the one formula you could use to determine what each of your fellow scribbler and avid reader family members or friends would like to receive, I have put together a short list of things which could tickle their fancy.

  1. Gift baskets. I know what you’re thinking. Gift baskets come in all shapes and sizes, but not one shop or website carries one named “Writer’s gift basket”; right? They don’t, or at least not the ones I looked through around here as research for this article. So why did I include this here? Because, you can make it yourself!
    Grab a pretty basket and fill it up with: pens and pencils, pencil cases, bookmarks, journals, stapler & staples, ink (either for a pen or for a printer), notepads, erasers, post-it notes in any or all shapes and sizes, stationery, note books (maybe something fancier, like a leather note book), day planners, diaries, bookplates, writing-themed magnets (magnetic scrabble fridge tiles), a book light, memory sticks, and chocolate. Every writer loves chocolate.
  2. Books. Kind of obvious, yes. But every writer I know has a never-ending wishlist. Many have books on the craft of writing, technical books, collections of writing prompts or all those wonderful novels and poetry out there which they would love to own, yet simply can’t afford or feel that they shouldn’t indulge.
    See if they are willing to share the wishlist (or they might have one online on Goodreads, Amazon, or BookDepository so you can check it without them even suspecting what you are up to).
  3. I’d like to include Literary Magazines, either Single issues or Subscriptions under this category, too. This is a luxury most poetry or short story writers would appreciate as it’s always nice to hold a magazine in hand while reading rather than the average e-mail subscriptions.
  4. Amazon Prime might be a good idea as well. I think if there weren’t the added benefits like free same-day or two-day delivery, unlimited streaming for movies and series, hundreds of playlists and unlimited photo storage, the single reason a writer would choose Amazon Prime is: borrowing one book per month with no due date from the collection of over 800,000 books of the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library!
  5. Other Software or Updates. In this very tech-y day an age, most writers use a laptop for writing, on a daily basis. The key software for these writers is a word-processing software. Most PC users use Microsoft Office-based Word, however there are other ones out there as well, like Scrivener or White Smoke.
    If you’re feeling fancy, ask if they’d like to switch from their free blogging platform to their own self-hosted domain. They’re not as expensive as eight years ago when I first started blogging.
  6. An editor. Let me rephrase that since editors might not let you tie a pretty red bow around their neck and agree to sit pretty under the Christmas tree: An editing session. Are the writers in your life in need of a second opinion? Are they letting their masterpiece collect dust on a shelf, or putting off writing/sending out query letters because it needs more editing? An editing session could help them out big time.
  7. A creative writing class, workshops or conferences. Either in “real-life” or online, many writers would like to further perfect their craft. Have they got fear of writing, issues with time management, or are in need of fresh creative energy to move out of a rut? There are several websites you can check out, and in case you can not decide on your own, include the writer in the decision making process. They are the ones who best know what they need.
  8. Customized items. Great for stocking fillers. In this area of gifts, there are many things you can customize, like jewelry: cufflinks, pins and badges, pendants, bracelets engraved with their favorite (short) quote, earrings;
    clothing: T-shirst, neck ties, hats, scarves;
    and even kitchen items: mugs, serving trays, bowls, wine bottles, etc. And you can never go wrong with writing-themed Christmas tree ornaments!
  9. High end pens. Quill pens, fountain pens, ballpoint pens. These are good choices for every writer of course, but especially for pen-enthusiasts.
  10. Book ends. They seem underrated, but I think they are worth keeping in mind because they not only keep books from falling off not-yet-filled-up shelves, they allow for building a bookshelf anywhere – on a windowsill, a desk, etc. They also come in all shapes and sizes and are customisable to your writer’s dreams.
  11. Time to write. This can be as simple as arranging play-dates, taking the kids to a movie one day per week, going to visit the grandparents without your spouse on a weekend, taking over some of the chores or cooking dinner yourself so your writer will have a bit of time to themselves, to clear their head from the everyday worries and write without interruptions.
  12. A place to write. If you are in the mood to make over a room in your house, how about giving your writer a cozy space to read and write in? A door to shut would be ideal, but even simply rearranging a shared space to make room for a bookshelf, a comfy chair, or a desk will go a long way. Build them a book lover’s Christmas Tree!
  13. A writer’s retreat or travel for research. If you can afford it, check out a few places close by and send your writer on a short writing retreat. Or if they have a trip coming up, offer to extend it by a few days. Send them on a short trip for research, if for example, they are city-bound yet writing about a beach setting.
    A weekend away from a noisy house, in a cute little bed and breakfast is guaranteed to make their year!

How about you? Would you be happy to receive any of the above listed? How do you shop for the writers (and readers) in your life? Any ideas I could steal?

~~~

As a disclaimer, the above listed are things I use and love, or I would love to receive.

I have personally worked with Karen Schindler in the past, and she has edited my work in such a way that she kept my voice throughout the stories; sometimes sending them back with edits that I didn’t even notice at first were not my own writing. I highly recommend Karen’s services.

In April 2012, I took Milli Thornton’s Ace Your 10K Day online class. She has several classes to choose from, her insight for the issues I had were more than helpful as they were easily applicable; and overall, Milli was a pleasure to work with.

If you’re crafty, a while back I made myself some classy handmade bookmarks, and cute corner bookmarksa writer’s clock, pretty calligraphy ornaments and a travelogue and built a Booklover’s Christmas Tree! With a little imagination, they can easily be transformed to your own needs and even crafted with your children to gift to the writer in their life.

Happy gift giving!

2016, July 8

Take a Moment to Write a Curious List Today

CuriousLists.jpgEver since being gifted with the “Curious Lists – A Creative Journal for List Lovers”, for a past Valentine’s Day, I consider it an amazing gift! As of first opening it, I am simply in love with this book! I couldn’t wait to give it a try to see if friends wanted to join in on the fun. We had a blast!

So, since I haven’t done a blog post like this in a while, let’s have some fun today and write a Curious List together. I will write my list below answering the prompt, and you let me know in the comment section what Your own lists would look like. Deal?

I opened the book at random, to page 169 and chose the bottom left list title, from the chapter “Lists for Vacations”.

Unwise Impersonations to Perform in a Public Bath: 

  • Bugs Bunny, looking around shamelessly while asking “What’s up Doc?”
  • police officer, saying “Stick’em up!”
  • Paul Castellano from  ‘Boss of Bosses: The FBI and Paul Castellano’, asking “Who wants to sleep with the fishes?”
  • Radar in the ‘Deal me out’ episode of M*A*S*H TV series, when Hawkeye and Trapper, who are showering, make wisecracks about Radar’s appearance and height. Radar says, “That’s okay, I can take a joke” and swipes their robes as he walks out of the shower tent.

What other unwise impersonations to perform in a public bath can You think of?

2016, April 8

Where do You Find Inspiration?

Large-Blue-RGB-National-Poetry-Month-LogoToday is the second stop on the Savvy Verse & Wit National Poetry Month Blog Tour.

My writer friend, Judy Clement Wall, shared the first post of the “Coffee Shop Moments” series back in 2013. She often writes in coffee shops, and she defined this as a way for her to combine writing with her (then) new-found passion of doodling, practice her hand lettering, experiment with some different doodling techniques and tools, and justify the time she spends shamelessly eavesdropping on people in coffee shops.

Since then, she is not a newcomer in illustrating anymore, as you can see from her Meet-the-artist video for HCI Books’s Inkspirations launch.
Hope you drop by and read her thoughts, and given they have inspired me a lot, I am sure they are bound to do the same for you.

NPMBlogTour2016From pen, to paper, to screen…

Personally, I don’t write in coffee shops – that would be way too loud, or at least busy, for me. However, for “inventory” purposes, so far I have written both poems and flash fiction:
in quiet spots while traveling, on a flat’s rooftop, as part of long walks in the park, on a walk with a friend where both of us got our notebooks out and started writing away after a nice long talk, and in various spots in my home that I’ve called my writing spaces.

In these same places I also found and continue to find inspiration. Ideas for theme, setting, and characters come from there. To elaborate on that, I’ll name only a few.

One of my favorite poems, “That Moment”, was written three months after a particularly amazing first date.
Silence prompted writing “Some Silences”, which I still think holds so much truth in just a few sentences. “Heart on the beach” came to life during a walk on one of the sandy beaches of Sicily.
One of my most emotion-filled poems still is “The slowest dance”, bringing up memories of a time long gone every time I read it. While the haiku “Stillness” was inspired by as little as the natural artsy light/shadows effect coming through our, at that time, new window after closing the curtains for the first time.

I wrote “Overwriting Memories”, one night after looking through the pictures of my trip, for a future travel article about Paris. In one of the photos I noticed a couple in the Eiffel Tower whom I inadvertently captured. Prompted by this, the flash fiction piece basically wrote itself.
“Sleeping Beauty of Palermo” came to life a couple of days after arriving home from my trip to Sicily. It is true to this day, that ever since my friends and I visited the Capuchin catacombs of Palermo in Sicily, the memory of it is still one which stands out to all of us, one that left us tongue tied for the rest of that day. The face of Rosalia Lombardo is etched into my memory, still keeping me speechless, yet I was compelled to act on my thoughts, to write a story around what I have seen.
“Predictable” is one of my favorite flashes inspired by my cat, Onyx, and says something about this writer life, about how inspiration comes to me.

As I write this article, I am sitting on a bench overlooking the lake in Central Park here in Cluj-Napoca. It’s past seven in the evening, the sun is setting, and the heat turned into a nice breeze. To my left, a middle aged woman leans back reading “The Little Prince”.
If asked about it, I imagine she would reply: “All my books are children’s books. After all, what is the difference between children and adults, and books written for one or the other? I was drawn in by a title, a first sentence, by a memory of school vacations from a long time ago, a quote I’ve known by heart for years and which I have rediscovered again while reading today.”

These thoughts might turn into a poem, or a flash fiction piece sometime in the future. Or they might only remain here as proof of how this writer’s mind works when out and about. Any and all of the above are welcome.

Now I am wondering about You. Please share in the comments below: where do You find inspiration?

How is your National Poetry Month going? Read anything you think I’d like? Do share!

2013, December 28

Curious Lists for Holidays

Seems like my blogging-every-day-until-Christmas plan worked. I’m full of ideas, and eager to write new blog posts and have even wrote a few poems, and a flash fiction during relaxing after Christmas lunch the other day.

While building my book Christmas tree, I first topped it off with my Curious Lists book. Then thought better and replaced it with something else, so I could look through it and write something up soon. That “soon” is today.

As you’re accustomed, I’ll share one of the list titles in this book and the content I came up with. Then, You let me know in the comment section what Your lists would look like.

Curious Lists - xmas edition

I opened the book at random, to page 111 and then chose the bottom title, from the chapter “Lists for Holidays”. For it is the holiday season, I decided to give this list a festive/humorous spin and thought of items accordingly. Here’s what I came up with.

Knightly Duties:

  1. Attend to fair maidens – decorate the castle
  2. Make a popcorn & berry garland for the royal Christmas Tree
  3. Have faith and believe in the power of Mistletoe
  4. Knit a red and green open stitch eternity scarf for the princess
  5. On Christmas Eve be the first to arrive caroling to the royal court
  6. Wear Santa hat on top of his helmet
  7. Hang a wreath around his horse’s neck
  8. Build a knightly snowman complete with knight helmet and shield
  9. When called upon, help Santa’s Elves build toys
  10. Bake and build a gingerbread house
  11. Defeat the Grinch
  12. Ensure the survival of Holiday traditions

Your turn, leave me your list items in the comments below. Have I left anything out?

2013, July 1

When in need of a creativity boost…

… just pull out the Curious Lists journal!

Let’s have some fun. As I did when introducing my awesome gift from the Chef to you guys, I’ll share one of the list titles in this book and the content I came up with. Then, You let me know in the comment section what Your lists would look like.

I opened the book at random, to page 171 and then chose the bottom title, from the chapter “Lists for Vacations”. For this one, I decided to transcribe some of my real life equations. It’s been so much fun writing, it will have a follow-up, I think, with non-weather related ones.

X (Season) + Y (Weather Occurrence) = :

  • Spring + storm I thought might only start later = buying a black umbrella with red heart patterns on it (after running around in pouring rain, from store to store, in Brasov) which still allows for soaking wet shoes.
  • Summer + heat wave + a few innocent raindrops turned super storm of June, 2012 = Outfit and hairstyle generously provided by current day’s lovely weather.
  • Summer + bright sunshine + occupied hands with more stuff than one can carry = singlehandedly proving the laws of physics with a “Darn, these sunglasses work wonders in the dark!” kind of revelation while trying to pick oneself up from right before our apartment door and crawling out of the box of stuff our considerate neighbor left in the very center of the unlighted hallway.
  • Fall + rain = kitty paw patterned floors.
  • Fall + quiet downpour = my muse enjoying dancing in the rain.
  • Winter + shivering minus C cold = beds growing purring “lumps” under the covers.

Your turn. Ready? Go! :)

2013, March 4

Curious Lists, a creative journal for list-lovers

As you might have noticed already, I’m a list lover. Not the To-Do List lover, which tends to grow rapidly and even without my approval. But a list lover nonetheless.

Ever since my friend, j, mentioned being gifted with the “Curious Lists – A Creative Journal for List Lovers”, I’ve had it on my wish list. That was back in 2009.

This V-Day, the Chef and I agreed to exchange presents in the form of books. And since his cost more than my choice, I got to choose another something from my wish list – and went with the Curious Lists journal.

It is one amazing gift!

The book is small, will easily fit into my purse. It is divided into 26 chapters, like “Lists for Early Mornings”, “Lists for Rainy Days”, “Lists for When You’re on the Bus” (with my commute, that tends to be a lot of the time) and my favorite “Lists for No Particular Reason”. In each chapter list titles are given and the contents are to be written by me. As of first opening it, I am enchanted, captivated, and simply in love with this book!

Here are all of j’s lists thus far from the book. I plan to blog about some when I need a creativity boost.

Curious ListsSo let’s have some fun. I’ll share one of my list titles and the content I come up with, in blog posts. Then, you let me know in the comment section what your lists would look like. Deal? Let’s start today with the following.

I opened the book at random, to page 66 and the chose the top list title, from the chapter “Lists for When You’re at Home, Sick”. I am not at home, sick. Unless you count suffering-when-not-writing a kind of sick. Anyway, this seemed appropriate for a first list, given that I’m a writer.

IMG_77271_thumb.jpg

Letters of the alphabet that look good written on their own:

  • W
  • M
  • B
  • E

The way I handwrite them, at least. I am secretly in love with calligraphy. So I especially see these letters looking good written on their own. They could very well be putting their little innate palms up in a “Talk to the hand” gesture to all the other letters of the alphabet ;)

So, what do You think? Which letters of the alphabet look good written on their own?

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