About Me

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I'm a published author of short fiction for kids and adults. I have an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. I'm a former content writer for Spirit and Truth publishing on their Living the Word series. I've also worked as a paid book reviewer and as a student editor for The Louisville Review literary magazine. I'm a wife and mom to two great kids, three dogs, and a cat. I love books, movies, gardening, kids, and animals.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Continue the Story

Today in honor of spring and new growth I'm going to post a story beginning and you get to continue it. You can post whatever you like in the comments section to continue the story. Let's see where it takes us over the course of the week. If you don't feel it is truly finished post something to let me know and we will continue the tale for another week. :)

Tilda dug at the frozen earth among the tender shoots that were trying to grow despite the cold of winter which tenaciously wasn't relinquishing its hold. The sky above was a gun metal gray.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Playing Around

Oy vey it has been a long day today. My husband had to go in for a colonoscopy this morning. So instead of doing my morning cardio like usual and then settling in to blog, I was eating breakfast and going to the hospital. Heh! Fortunately, my hubby came away with a clean bill of health, so we won't have to worry about that again for another ten years. Phew. The prep for something like that is worse than the actual procedure. I've never felt so guilty eating at regular intervals before in my life. He had to be on a liquid diet for the most part yesterday. Anyhoo, rather than writing an actual post today I thought I'd play around with uploading a video on my blog.

So here goes and hope this works. The following video for your viewing pleasure is me and my daughter's first collaborative effort at making a funny short video clip. I came up with the idea and Abby ran with it and did most of the script and recording. This was the fourth or fifth run we made. You can't hear what I say at the end, but I'm calling out "Who wants ice cream?" I was accused of hovering too much in the videographer's line of sight while filming and distracting her. So, I said my line, which I wrote myself out of this whole piece, from farther away and it isn't clearly heard. I really hope this works because we both thought our idea was funny and we hope you do as well. :P

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My Resolve

Today I thought it would be good to review how things are going with my resolution for the year. Three months into 2014 seems like a good checkpoint for this. By now most people have begun to wonder why they wasted money on that gym membership. Others fell off the diet after a few weeks. Thankfully, I didn't make resolutions to go to the gym or go on a diet. My resolution was to live each day in the moment and try to enjoy them to the fullest so I could remember more of my year than I would running around like a crazy person.

I'm sorry to say that my resolve evaporated somewhere in mid-February. I'm not really even sure when it happened exactly. I started out January doing well. But this idea of living in the moment gradually melted away. I could blame other things for this. Unexpected family illnesses, over scheduling myself with activities for both me and my kids, too many snow days. I can think of plenty of reasons why I suddenly realized I was back on that silly hamster wheel again. But really all of the stuff I just listed can be attributed to life. The true reason I fell off the resolution wagon wasn't because of any of those things. It was much simpler than that. I forgot all about my resolution. I got busy and it slipped away.

It wasn't until I was reading a book that I became aware of this fact. In the book, (unfortunately not one of my books from the to-be-read pile I have that is neverending, but a library book instead) one of the main characters is describing consciously feeling spring. She is a creature that was created from the earth and therefore could tangibly feel it waking up all around her in Central Park. It made me thirst to have a moment where I could be outside and I could feel spring all around me. Just to be in nature and feel and smell the warmth, the flowers, the sounds of the earth waking up after a long, cold sleep. It sounded lovely. That was when I remembered my new year resolution. The one where I was supposed to be doing just what I longed to do--to live in that moment and absorb what was going on. Instead, I was living by my weekly calendar, actively planning ahead to what I needed to do next. Don't get me wrong. I knew from the beginning that I would still need to keep up with my weekly activities and check my calendar each day. I'm not such an idealist that my resolution meant I'd stop living in the real world. It just meant that right now even though I know what I'd like to do or need to do next this morning, I can't enjoy what I am doing now, which is blogging. And it is perfectly okay for me to take a breath, look around my kitchen, and be thankful that I live in a place where I am free to live how I choose as I look at my weekly calendar to remember what I have in store for me. So, tomorrow when my alarm goes off and I have to remember where I am and what day it is (because I'm still not used to being on daylight savings time) I also have to remember to take a breath, listen to all those noisy little birds outside and be thankful I woke up to another morning.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Playing in a Play

Photos courtesy of Susan Campbell

A few short days ago, I was another person. I was Dolores Dumpfy, and aspiring actress. I was quiet, in a creepy way and I was a suspect in a murder.

No I wasn't taking on an alternate identity because I've started working as an undercover spy. I was performing in a play, "Murder Me Always."

This was no simple whodunit. It was a play within a play that came to a abrupt halt when the director was murdered. As Dolores, this wasn't the first play I'd acted in where a murder had taken place among the cast. So, I was a prime suspect. ***SPOILER ALERT***Alas, despite the certainty of some of the audience members I wasn't the killer. I won't say who was in case you ever have the opportunity to see a production of this play. But it wasn't me. I didn't know this, however, until the first read through of the script.

Photos courtesy of Susan Campbell
What you may wonder does any of this have to do with my work as a writer or a mom. I'll tell you.

I had to think long and hard before deciding to audition to be in a play. I knew it would take days out of my week for rehearsals and performances. It would mean that some of the time I would normally be writing or cleaning house would be replaced with reading my script and memorizing my lines. It would be a temporary distraction and addition to my busy schedule. But it would be a creative outlet that I would be doing just for myself. Something outside of the solitary act of writing.

I asked my kids what they thought of the idea. I think my son was ambivalent about it. But my daughter told me "totes magotes, you should do it." It was a risk I decided to take and I enjoyed it very much. It wasn't easy. It was hard memorizing script, and cues for my lines. I didn't have nearly as many as my other cast members, and I didn't have to travel as far to make it to rehearsals as some. Still, it was a challenge and I wasn't able to make it to every single rehearsal. Thankfully, we all had a very forgiving director who gave us the flexibility we needed to make it to as many as we could and still be in the play. When it was all over we were all sad that we wouldn't get to see each other again. We had become a small family of fellow thespians who supported each other even when the lines and scenes didn't always come together exactly as they should have. The audience didn't know and we improvised our way through those moments together.

I learned a lot from the experience. I might not be quite as caught up on my daily writing ventures and tasks as I should be. But being in a different creative endeavor helped me in more ways than it hurt me. I got to know another writer. I literally had to be in character in order for my part to work, something I can really use when I'm struggling to make my written characters come to life. Maybe my dogs will get to see me acting out my stories after this. :D And I learned that when you aren't certain what you are supposed to say next, you improvise. Writers have to do this a lot in their stories. Even when we outline our plots we can't always be certain how they will unfold to get from beginning to that planned ending. And outlines do sometimes have to be revised as you are writing. Best of all it was lovely being around other people who aren't afraid to take a risk and become someone else for a brief moment in time and act in front of a live audience. Despite differences in age, backgrounds, and experience we pulled together and entertained people by living out a story on stage for them. We were a creative cast of characters who were different from our norm and it was fun!

So don't be afraid to take a risk and try a different way to express your creativity. Support your local theatres and area arts and humanities programs. Stretch in new ways as an artist. You will be surprised at what you can learn from the experience.

Please share with me new creative ventures you have pursued and what you've learned from them. Did they help you grow or were they a distraction?