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My Favorite Punctuation Mark June 3, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness, Nature.
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448px-Alice_05a-1116x1492I’ve been a life long smoker . . .

I started smoking in the womb, courtesy of mom, got accustomed to that subtle nicotine buzz, and never stopped.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

I have stopped, a time or two, once for five years, but I always return to the smoking section ~ an area of the planet that is growing smaller and smaller, due to government regulations designed to enhance the public welfare.

Of course, if the government cared about our welfare, it wouldn’t be taxing cigarettes, it’d be tackling real problems like global warming and greed and animal abuse and poverty and . . .

Last year, I quit smoking for ten days.  In part due to a HUGE spike in the cost of cigarettes.  When we moved to Florida in January 2009, a carton of cigarettes cost $28.  A short 7 months (and ten tax hikes) later, that exact same carton cost $48!

Due to the astronomically high tax hikes imposed on the smoking public, I started toying with the idea of quitting.  Instead of buying a carton, I bought a pack of cigarettes.  With various and sundry taxes, including the recently imposed “sin tax,” one pack of “discount” cigarettes cost $5.77 ~ equivalent to the price I paid for an entire carton of cigarettes in college!

That decided it . . . I quit!

Anyway, going without cigarettes for ten days wasn’t hard.  I didn’t turn into a raving lunatic or experience severe withdrawal symptoms.  My husband assured me that I was no bitchier than per my norm.  Nonetheless, I missed my not-so-healthy-habit, especially when writing.

Turns out that smoking a cigarette is my favorite punctuation mark.

When I finish writing something, after I’ve dotted  the “i’s” and crossed the “t’s,” after I’ve run a quick spell check and checked for Evil Adverbs, I take a break from my keyboard and head outside for some “life balance” ~ with an adult beverage in one hand, and a smoke in the other.

(Okay, I admit it, I have two favorite punctuation marks . . . so do lots of writers.)

After ten days of chewing Nicolette (instead of lighting up a cigarette) to punctuate my writing sessions, I decided that writing is simply less fun when I’m not smoking.

For one thing, you aren’t supposed to drink while chewing Nicolette . . . so instead of a drink in one hand, and a smoke in the other, I just had a wad of foul-tasting gum in my mouth.

It’s just not the same thing.

In time, I’m certain I could replace my favorite punctuation marks with something far healthier . . . a walk on the beach, a bike ride around the neighborhood, or a pack of gummi bears under the bed . . . but, for now, you’ll find me in the smoking section just outside my back door maintaining my life balance.

Aah . . . that’s better!


Quote:  The tools I need for my work are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whisky. ~ William Faulkner

Related posts:  The Spark of Creativity * A Sucky Habit (The Lair of the Silver Fox) * A Writer’s Life For Me * Eavesdropping on the Rooftop Literati * The Power Of Awesome * Austen & Dickens Had It Easy * Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland * It’s In The Mail . . . 

The Spark of Creativity June 3, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Writing & Writers.
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Rik wrote an interesting post this morning (as he does most mornings) ~ Wing It or Plan It:  How Do You Start Your Story?

Well, Rik, it depends . . .

When I do my taxes, I figure out how large a refund I need, and work backwards from there.

Sometimes, when I write, I do the same thing.

I start with the last sentence, then create a tortuous path through the underbrush of my thoughts to end the post at the beginning.

Frankly, that type of writing is a bit exhausting for me.

Other times, I look around at all the amazing topics to choose from until one cries out more insistently than the rest:

Pick me!  Pick me!

Of course, that can be as challenging as choosing a single piece of Godiva from the display case.

So, most times, I just start typing and let the path unfold before me . . . reveling in the uncertainty of not knowing exactly where it will lead.

For example, in my last post, A Writer’s Life For Me, I started with lyrics running through my head (don’t ask me how they got there), and one thing led to another until I stumbled across, bumped into, or otherwise encountered Walt’s quote about Treasure Island.

As his words appeared before me, I knew I had reached the finish line.

In writing like life, if we remain open to the moment, Spirit Lights The Way.

Related posts:  A Writer’s Life For Me * Eavesdropping on the Rooftop Literati * The Power Of Awesome * Austen & Dickens Had It Easy * Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland * It’s In The Mail . . . 

A Writer’s Life For Me June 3, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Gratitude, Life Balance.
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Classic-pirateRemember that song from The Pirates of Penzance . . . A Pirate’s Life for Me?

Wait, maybe the song appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean?

Hmm . . . not really sure.  I’ll check and get back with you.

* * * * *

Okay, got it! 

In 2003, Elizabeth Swann teaches the song to Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Glad we cleared that up . . . oh, wait!  

Here we go . . .

It’s also (and originally) the theme song for the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions at Disney Theme Parks ~ dating back to 1967! 

And it’s called Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)

Glad that’s sorted . . .

In any event, having explored previous life incarnations and permutations, I am now delighted to report that it’s . . . A Writer’s Life For Me! 

Nothing like the freedom of thinking, researching, and writing about topics that call out:  Pick me!  Pick me!

Most days, I feel a bit like a kid in a candy store, a bumblebee in a field of daisies, or a pirate opening a treasure chest . . . giddy with delight at all the sights, sounds and smells greeting my senses.

To celebrate this incredible freedom of speech I’ve pirated for myself, I’ve scouted out a few quotes about writing and writers to share with you:

Pluto-RollerskatingWriting is a dog’s life, but it’s the only life worth living. ~ Gustave Flaubert

Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other folks have lent me.  ~ Anatole France

A book is a mirror; if an ass peers into it, you can’t expect an apostle to peer out.  ~ Georg Christoph Lictenberg

There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and a tired man who wants a book to read. ~ G.K. Chesterton

When you reread a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than was there before. ~ Clifton Fadiman

For several days after my first book was published I carried it about in my pocket, and took surreptitious peeps at it to make sure the ink had not faded. ~ Sir James M. Barrie

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

Writing is a solitary occupation.  Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer.  He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking. ~ Lawrence Clark Powell

HorseracingThe profession of book-writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business. ~ John Steinbeck

I love being a writer.  What I can’t stand is the paperwork. ~ Peter De Vries

The tools I need for my work are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whisky. ~ William Faulkner

There is only one trait that marks the writer.  He is always watching.  It’s a kind of trick of the mind and he is born with it. ~ Morley Callahan

I suppose I am a born novelist for the things I imagine are more vital and vivid to me than the things I remember. ~ Ellen Glasgow

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island . . . and best of all, you can enjoy those riches every day of your life. ~ Walt Disney

Aah, we’ve come full circle . . . from treasured pirates to pirates’ treasure.

Yo Ho!  (A Writer’s Life For Me).  

For more writing quotes:  The Writer’s Quotation Book ~ A Literary Companion, edited by James Charlton

Related posts:  Eavesdropping on the Rooftop Literati * The Power Of Awesome * Austen & Dickens Had It Easy * Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland * It’s In The Mail . . . * Eat, Pray, Love . . . Tie the Knot??? * 30 Writing Quotes to Motivate You (DailyPost) * 30 Writing Quotes for 2011 (The Urban Muse)