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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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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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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And So We Begin

It’s been an uneventful week here in the Martin household. A neighbor who recently moved away paid a visit and there was much hilarity on our patio. Cathy attended her first meeting of The Daughters of the American Revolution.  Lettuce and kale and spinach are producing like crazy in our garden. Cathy and I had…

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The Small, Good Things

Friday, while I was running on the treadmill, I felt my left knee lock up. I got off the treadmill and moved about until my knee felt fine again. I finished my run with no further difficulty until I got off the treadmill and had a pain in my hip, leg, and knee. Having experienced…

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Until It’s Done: Writers and Work

On this Labor Day weekend, I’m thinking a good deal about work and what it takes to keep doing it. My father farmed all his life until his heart disease forced him to stop. His second heart attack, the one that killed him, happened when he was mowing the yard on one of the hottest…

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Let’s Make a Scene

When children misbehave in public, parents often tell them, “Don’t make a scene.” What an unfortunate reprimand for any child who one day might be a writer, particularly if we’re prose writers. We spend our days making scenes on the page. I want to get down to basics in this post; I want to illustrate…

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Round Characters

As some of you know, Cathy and I have two raised beds in a community garden. The garden is along a busy road and highly visible. This may explain, at least in part, why it’s tempting for someone to steal vegetables. No one has taken anything from our beds, perhaps because they’re at the rear…

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