Turn On the Lights and Be Fully Present

Cathy and I put up our Christmas trees this weekend. We have a prelit flocked artificial tree in our family room, and we also put a tree on our front porch. The flocked tree was new last year, and wouldn’t you know it, the lights on one of the sections wouldn’t work. The company had…

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Tips for Writing Scenes

Many years ago, I performed regularly in community theatre productions. I still recall the intense experience of standing backstage listening for my cue. Behind the flats, I was in the real world, but just barely. When my cue came, I stepped out into an imaginary world, transformed into whatever character I was playing. With one…

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The Art of Daydreaming

Yesterday, Cathy and I decided to put our community vegetable garden plots to bed for the winter. We picked the last of the spinach from our cool weather planting and let the kale and the lettuce, which had been prolific, succumb to the frosty mornings we’ve been having. I’d read that the frost often made…

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Prompts for the Doldrums

That time of year when we set our clocks back an hour has rolled around, paving the way for winter days of short light. I don’t know about you, but here in central Ohio the cold and the dark are enough to sometimes send me into the doldrums. I just looked up the etymology of…

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Time in Stories

The music swells, the bridesmaids and groomsmen are already in place, as is the groom, looking nervous-elated-placid-dour-hungover. There’s that moment of anticipation when the wedding guests turn in their chairs and crane their necks to look for what they know is imminent, the arrival of the bride. Suddenly, there she-him-they is/are, escorted by father and/or…

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Slowing Down in Fiction

I come from a family of worriers. Consequently, I’m often turning one thing or another over and over in my head. I feel something inside me speed up. For instance, I think about all the work I have to get done, and suddenly I’m so anxious, I feel like I’m racing, eager as I am…

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I Remember That

We went to high school together. She was a year behind me even though she was a year older, and one evening at an end-of-the-year picnic for the sophomore and junior classes, she got flirty with me. We ended up, later that night, kissing in the shadows of a recessed spot outside the school building.…

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What Kind of Writer Are You?

This afternoon, while driving through Ohio farm country, I remembered how I was in an agriculture class in high school for exactly one day. That’s all it took for me to know I was in the wrong place. I was there because my father was a farmer, and even though he supported me in my…

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Options for Our Characters

This weekend, my birthday rolled around. Cathy got me this sit-to-stand desk, so I can work standing up if I choose, or I can lower the desk and sit down. I very much appreciate this gift because it should help with my recurring sciatic nerve pain that I often aggravate with long periods of staying…

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A Little Something Sweet: Plotting Our Fiction

We start with a bit of jelly on a plastic lid. Cathy and I were having breakfast on a restaurant’s patio this morning and bees were swarming around each table, trying to get at everyone’s food. “All they want is a little something sweet,” Cathy said. Then she took the lid off the little plastic…

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