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A Slytherin’ Successsssss September 29, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Writing & Writers.
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39 comments

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Despite his eventual fame, Harry Potter did not find a publisher straight out of the gate.

Imagine if J.K. Rowling had given up on the idea when she received rejection after rejection:

* The world would never have met Dumbledore or Dobby the House Elf.

* Or wandered the corridors of Hogwarts or Diagon Alley.

* And none of us would know how to play Quidditch.

Rowling kept pitching her story until she found a publisher who saw in her stories what readers did ~ a spellbinding read.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money. ~ Jules Renard

Page Turner ~ A Mystery Thriller Contest September 25, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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33 comments

Stephen King, who winters in Sarasota, agreed to speak in Manatee County on January 29, 2015, at a fundraiser for the Manatee Country Library System.

As one might expect, sponsorship tickets for the event zoomed out the door.

All but one.

The Library Foundation holds a ticket for the lucky winner of Page Turner ~ A Mystery Thriller Writing Contest.  Entrants are not restricted by age, but must possess a valid Manatee County Public Library card that is in good standing.

Since I do . . . I tossed my 250 words into the pool.

* * *

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Violet’s threat hung in the air.  She pointed a gun at me, placing more pressure on the trigger than I deemed prudent.

I scanned Hal’s living room, noting the crimson stain pooling around Hal’s body.  Violet meant business.  Some other scandal hound would get the scoop on Hal’s death, and mine, unless I helped her.

I gave Violet center stage.  Like a true diva, she dove in.

“Hal called this morning. He said he had some dirt on me and invited me over. When I arrived, he suggested we discuss the situation over a glass of wine . . . in the Jacuzzi. I refused. He got ugly. When I started to leave, he called you. After hanging up, he said, Sugar, when Ketchem publishes the photos I dug up on you, your career will be on permanent standstill. I knew I had no choice.”

Violet paused.  I glanced at Hal.

Seeing the trajectory of my eyes, she gasped.  “No! No! I know what you’re thinking, Sammy. I didn’t KILL him. I agreed to meet him in the Jacuzzi and went to get a towel. I heard a gunshot, raced back here, and found him like, like . . . that. I heard a noise behind me, grabbed the gun, and turned around. There was no one there. I panicked and started tearing the place apart to find the photos. Before I found them, I heard the doorbell and you walked in.”

I exhaled.

If Violet didn’t kill Hal, she didn’t need to kill me.

Aah . . . that’s better!

General tickets will go on sale Nov. 1 and can be purchased later this year through the Manatee Performing Arts Center box office and the Manatee Library Foundation website.

 

The Fluid Nature of Communication September 24, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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34 comments

What makes a word “real”?

Who decides whether “YOLO” is, in fact, a word?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Like A Box of Chocolates September 11, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Blogs & Blogging, Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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48 comments

IMGP1105bThe titles of blog posts can be misleading.

Titillating titles and teasers may grab our attention without holding it.

Great curb appeal may mask an empty shell:

Inside the vestibule, we encounter a veritable dumping ground of mish mash and pish posh with little rhyme or reason, almost as if the author tossed a bunch of unrelated thoughts into the air and allowed the hodge podge and hoi polloi to descend and settle willy nilly into disordered and discordant chaos and disarray.

Like so much falderal and fiddle dee dee.

If a post leaves me befuddled (because “the point” of the post is M.I.A.), I leave the pointless post, post haste.

Of course, the opposite also occurs.

On occasion, we stumble across a blog title so dumpy or frumpy that we lower our expectations before stepping across the threshold.

Why step inside at all?

Curiosity, perhaps.  Or maybe the slim reed of hope that the dowdy exterior, like an oyster shell, houses a pearl of wisdom.

scan0002b

Sometimes, despite the gloomy interior heralded on the marquee, intrepid visitors are rewarded.

Instead of finding a warren of empty rooms, we encounter a brilliant flash of light as a veritable palace of jewels and gems opens before us.

scan0002d

What a delight when valuable insight awaits those who venture past a dingy signpost outside.

Aah . . . that’s better!

“Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” ~ Forest Gump

Winner . . . Winner . . . Lobster Dinner! September 8, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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24 comments

As mentioned in Short Short Stories, the winner of the Longboat Key News Short Short Story Contest receives a complimentary dinner at The Lazy Lobster.

Winner . . . Winner . . . Lobster Dinner!

If you would like to vote:

1.  Follow this link ~ You Choose:  Which Story Is Your Favorite?

2.  Scroll through the entries and pick your favorite.

3.  E-mail the TITLE of your favorite story to:  story@lbknews.com

Aah . . . that’s better!

You can stuff a lobster, but NOT the ballot box ~>  only one choice per e-mail will be counted.

If you have a favorite . . . feel free to share its TITLE in the comments below.

 

Short Short Stories August 20, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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39 comments

A local newspaper solicited short short stories (25 words or less) to run in the paper during the month of August.

At the end of the summer, one story will be chosen as “the winner” and its author will receive a culinary prize from . . . The Lazy Lobster.

I like lobster.  Even lazy lobsters, which are easier to catch.  I also enjoy playing with words, so I submitted a few short shorts:

The Best Thing About Getting Older

Audrey watched her 97-year-old neighbor sail by on a bike: “You’re such an inspiration, Vivian. What’s the best thing about getting older?”

“No peer pressure.”

Goofy-Riding-A-Bike

[We have a 96-year-old neighbor who still rides his bike and NEVER worries about peer pressure.]

Killing Time

Sophia hated waiting.
Killing time.

A woman in purple scrubs passed by, “Sorry, Sophia. Your chemo will start soon.”

Great. More time to kill . . .

Woodstock-&-Snoopy3

[Fiction.  Through and through.  The only Sophia I know is NOT undergoing chemo.  Which is good since she's only 9.]

Busted

Busted light. Sparks flew. Son professed innocence. Mom’s cross-examination shed light. Son came clean.

“I might have hit the hot bulb with a wet towel.”

Zombies

[Fiction.  Sort of.  Borrowed from an anecdote Janna shared with me.]

Where’s the ESC Key?

Memories erased, a hard drive malfunction. A lifetime abased, software keeps crumbling. Circuits and synapses fried, no longer firing. Fumbling thoughts stumble, a graceless nosedive.

Little-Miss-Scatterbrain

[Prompted by watching "creeping senility."  No, not mine!  My parents.]

Following Our Gut Instincts

Ralph leaned over his bike’s handlebars, revealing serious belly bulge.  John pointed, “That’s not a 6-pack . . . it’s a keg!

Ralph laughed, “I’m following my gut!”

Not Ralph

Not Ralph

[Prompted by seeing a guy in tight biker shorts with no shirt.]

Pretty Swift, eh?

Category: 19th Century Authors.

“Jonathan Swift.”
“What?”
“Final Jeopardy answer.”
“Alex hasn’t revealed the clue.”
“I know.”

Cue clue. Contestants stumped.

Answer announced: Jonathan Swift!

abstract-green-n-blue

[True story.  Just one of the amazing Winks, Whispers, and Nudges I've experienced from the Universal Matrix/Web.]

A Secret Made For Sharing

Mom hid dad’s birthday cake. “It’s a secret.” Jamie nodded. Seeing dad, the cork popped and 2-year-old Jamie squealed, “Cake in ‘ere! Cake in ‘ere!”

IMGP1762c

[True story.  For 2-year-old, birthday cake is too exciting to keep secret.]

How Do You Do That?

My husband waved an opaque bag, “Guess what I bought!”
The answer drifted in . . . “PEZ dispensers.”

“How do you do that?!”
“Sometimes I just know.”

Tree-Frog-Percheda

[True story.  Sometimes I just know.  And it always freaks BFF out.]

He’s Five. I’m Three. Do the Math!

Terrified by my older brother’s taunts, I screamed for back-up.  “M~O~M!!! Jamie’s gonna hit me!”

Mom (a clueless only child) replied, “Well, hit him back.”

daffy_duck_boxing

[I am NOT a tattle tale!  Or a cry baby.  Stop saying that . . . or I'm gonna hit you!  And don't go running to mom.  She won't do anything anyway.]

Stay

“Stop rocking the boat!”
“Learn to sway.”
“No. I’m leaving. Today.”
“Where to?”
“Can’t say.”
“Then stay.”
“No way.”
“Come back.”
“I may . . . one day.”

Chinaman-fishing

[Fiction.  Just playing with rhyme time.]

Falling on Deaf Ears

As the Merry-Go-Round slowed to a stop, my 3-year-old niece kicked her wooden carousel horse to urge it forward. “Don’t Stop, Horsie! Don’t Stop!”

Hand-moving-chess-piece

[True story.  The niece in question is now 21 and knows that kicking wooden horses will not make them speed up.]

Aah . . . that’s better!

The Keyboard Awaits August 15, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , , ,
45 comments

170px-alice_par_john_tenniel_30What will it be today?

Fiction, Non-Fiction, Novel, Short Story, Essay, Poetry, Humorous Anecdote, Serious Reflection.

The vehicles available to transport our words to the world are as varied as the topics addressed in our musings.

Like a single strand of DNA, reordering the 26 letters at our disposal expands our universe from finite to infinite.

Writing allows us to play with permutations, switch perspectives, and view life through different vantage points and keyholes.

The freedom of orchestrating our thoughts liberates us from the constraining influence of public opinion and even from our own limiting beliefs.

Alone with our thoughts, we step into solitude to carve order out of chaos.  As we edit, we add, delete, expand, contract, and reorder our thoughts until we are satisfied that we said what we meant, and we meant what we said.

220px-PinocchioIf we feel inhibited about sharing our unfiltered thoughts with an audience, we can create a fictional character to act as proxy or puppet.

And we hold the strings.

Everything we taste in life adds to our arsenal, our tool bag of tricks.

The world expands and we expand with it, noticing nuances and using experiences to entertain, persuade, educate, amuse, and spur others to action.

When we share our adventures, readers are inspired to expand their horizons.

The downside to this pleasant pastime of playing with words is that writing is a rabbit-hole.  An endless warren of thought threads distracts me from tackling more mundane tasks.  

Even those essential to survival like eating. And sleeping.

170px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_02In the Write Zone, the world is put on hold ~ I’ll get to IT (whatever IT is) later.  Or Tomorrow.

Next Tuesday at the latest.

I wonder if I lose track of time because I’m just writing for the fun of it?

At present, I’m not driven by thoughts of fame, fortune, or eventual publication.  I don’t care about “having written” or “making a name for myself” or any other external indicator of success.

For me, it’s the journey of writing that holds appeal.  I just want to be happy as the path unfolds before me.  And writing is the best means I’ve found to that end.

Other than chocolate, of course.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related Posts:  Writing and Writers * The Four Horsemen of Writer’s Block & How to Defeat Them  (Raptitude) * 7 Writing Tips From Real Writers

How To Be A Movie Reviewer June 30, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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38 comments

220px-Poster_-_Tarzan_the_Fearless_01To be a movie reviewer, you need to learn how to say something without saying anything in such a way that people reading the review think you said something worth reading.

Consider these two reviews:

Review #1:  This is a great movie. Everything about it is fantastic.  I am very glad I went to see this movie.  It is the best movie I have ever seen.  Everyone should go see this movie.  This is a must see.

Review #2:  In this delightful comedy, the brilliant director and talented actors work together to create magic on the screen, causing viewers to laugh, cry, and leave the theater in a happier frame of mind than when they arrived.

Assuming you didn’t know the reviewer, which movie would you want to see?

That’s the review you want to write.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Quote to Ponder:  “I like the word indolence . . . it makes my laziness seem classy.”  ~ Bern Williams

The Extrapolation Temptation June 13, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Life Lessons, Mindfulness, People, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , , ,
51 comments

150px-Carlo_Crivelli_052Many people convince themselves that they are putting their time on the planet to good use by postulating that everyone should do as they do:

* People who read novels may feel that everyone should read novels.

* People who enjoy travel may claim that people who don’t travel are missing out on an essential element of life.

* People who have kids may feel that everyone should have kids.

* People who are married may be convinced that everyone should get married.  (Or, perhaps, that no one should.)

It’s understandable that people want to persuade themselves that they’ve made the “right” choices in life.

That’s to be expected.

But if we give in to the temptation of extrapolating from “right for us” to “right for everyone else,” we are apt to lose our footing.

Or cause others to lose theirs.

As a case in point, I don’t regret destroying dozens of journals and diaries I kept as a child, teen, and young adult.  I found the experience of shredding page after page of compulsive thinking liberating ~> letting go of the past to make room for the present.

In the almost 20 years since I relegated them to the recycling bin, I haven’t missed them once.

Shredding those pages was the right decision for me.

But I wouldn’t extrapolate from my experience to encourage others to do the same.  Because I have no idea what’s in their journals.

Maybe their journals include eloquent and elegant memories that are worth saving, whereas mine contained a litany of complaints written when I was unhappy with the state of my world.  I didn’t record wonderful moments filled with joy and delight, because I was too busy having fun at those times.

Mickey-OKOnce I realized that slogging through the pages of my past (as recorded in my now defunct journals) would be a dismal exercise in futility, removed from the uplifting journey that represents the totality of my life, I let them go and breathed a great sigh of relief!

Aah . . . that’s better!

When you know WHO you are, you know HOW to live.

Related posts:  Philip Hensher (Carol Balawyder) * I Destroyed My Best Friend (Life Penned) * 3 Things I Learned This Week * Room To Express Oneself (BB’s Blog) * Where The Flow Leads (SuziCate)

Ayn Rand & Objectivism June 12, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, Synchronicity & Mystery, Writing & Writers.
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63 comments

Last week, we watched a fascinating documentary about Ayn Rand ~ the author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

Here’s her philosophy in a nutshell:

And in a slightly larger shell:

To learn more:  Discover Ayn Rand

While I think that Ayn Rand makes some good points, I’m not convinced that Reason is all we have or all we need to make our way in the world.

At times, I’ve known the unknowable, convincing me that there is a vast cosmic web of connection that we tap into with our intuition rather than our intellect.

I also am persuaded that there is more to Reality than meets the eye.

Frankly, I’m surprised Ayn didn’t ever wonder at the unique synchronicity that brought her together with her husband of 50 years ~ Frank O’Connor.

From Ayn Rand ~ A Sense of Life:

* Ayn first saw Frank on a bus and “knew” it was “him.”

* He got off at the same stop and they ended up on the same set location for the filming of “King of Kings.”

* The next day, Ayn positioned herself during filming so that Frank would step on her foot and have to apologize.

* Being a gentleman, he did.

* That was his last day on the set. They hadn’t exchanged numbers and Central Casting wouldn’t give her his number.

* Nevertheless, Ayn “knew” their paths would cross again . . . and they did.

* Early for a meeting in a department store at Hollywood and Vine, Ayn wandered around the corner to the public library, walked in, and saw Frank reading a magazine.  When he saw her, he got up, and they went outside to “start their courtship.”

If Objective Reason and Reality are all we have at our disposal, we must of necessity conclude that her “knowing” and their serendipitous meeting were mere coincidence.

Nothing more than dumb luck.

I don’t believe that.

Do you?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Have you read Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead?  What did you think?

Related posts: Winks, Whispers, and Nudges *  The Gift of Synchronicity * Synchronicity & Mystery * A Beacon in the Dark * Way of the Peaceful Warrior * I Don’t Know Where I’m Going * Divine Inspiration in Unlikely Place

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