The Crofts were come to Kellynch

The Crofts too possession with true naval alertness, and were to be visited.

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“It was you, and not your sister, I find, that my brother had the pleasure of being acquainted with, when he was in this country.”

 

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“Perhaps you may not have heard that he is married.”

 

 

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“We are expecting a brother of Mrs Croft’s here soon: I dare say you know him by name.”

 

 

So, which is worse? The shock of hearing the word “married” connected to the man you love? Or that he’s coming and will see you in all your faded glory? Both are bad. It all starts with the momentary shock and just escalates.

Sigh.

 

The Season for Reading

Photo: Bill Lapp (Creative Commons Flickr)

Add hot tea, a fuzzy blanket, and a good book. Perfect! Photo: Bill Lapp (Creative Commons Flickr)

Ah, autumn. Bright days, crisp evenings, and the tang of fallen leaves in the air. I love everything about this season.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, autumn marks the return of gray skies and rain. And that means it’s time for staying home with a book.

One of my very favorite things is coming in out of the wet to find a bright fire on the hearth. The drumming of rain against the windows, the welcome warmth of a cheerful fire, and an engrossing read. Such a comfortable combination.

Even guys like this book! Here, my sons lend a hand with promotion.

“Wait, Mom wrote THAT? Aw, Mom, what the heck?”

I’ve heard that October is one of the best times to release a book. Due to a frenzied school schedule–I’m teaching a high school class after all! –I can’t guarantee that the Mercy’s Embrace relaunch will happen next month, but I’m trying.

Speaking of reading, there’s a Darcy By Any Other Name giveaway at The Calico Critic. Bless Laura Hartness, she took on Darcy–all 662 pages–along with starting graduate school. “I applaud Laura Hile’s work,” she wrote, “and am so glad I said ‘yes’ to reviewing Darcy by Any Other Name!”

My all-guy fan club

My all-guy fan club. Otherwise known as my sons: Ben, Michael, and Nathan

Come by, read Laura’s wonderful review, and enter to win a Kindle edition. Here’s the link. Her giveaway ends October 8th.

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Do it anyway.

Opposing points of view

A very kind lady I know from Discovery School (where I teach music on Mondays and Fridays) posted this quote from Mother Teresa in the restroom. I’ve read it many times, and each time I’m struck by the wisdom of this philosophy. The version below was written on the wall of Mother Teresa’s room in her home for children in Calcutta, India, and is widely attributed to her.  It appears to be a rewrite of a composition by Kent Keith, but much of the second half has been re-written to reflect Mother Teresa’s spirituality.

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              People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.

            If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.

            If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.

           If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.

            What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.

            If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.

            The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.

         Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.

         In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

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Look at Mother Teresa’s face. Would you say she was beautiful? According to the world’s standards, she was not. However, I imagine she was beautiful in God’s sight. Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.

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Our words come from our hearts, and her heart was beautiful.

Contrast the first few lines of Mother Teresa’s quote with George Bernard Shaw’s. I think he probably viewed himself as unreasonable. I might be viewed the same way. Shaw chooses to make being unreasonable a positive character trait. I cannot agree, though I am often that way myself.

To be unreasonable is a type of conceit. I think I’m right because I see myself as intelligent and logical. Therefore, if something seems right to me, I often think the matter is settled. It isn’t.

How would you like to be remembered? I’m 62, and I think of this a great deal now. I would choose to be remembered kindly, as Mother Teresa is.

After all, who changed the world more in their lifetime?  Mother Teresa or George Bernard Shaw?

Leaving Kellynch Hall

In a few days it will be autumn, the season of Persuasion. I thought something a bit melancholy suited.

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“The last office of the four carriage-horses was to draw Sir Walter, Miss Elliot, and Mrs Clay to Bath. The party drove off in very good spirits; Sir Walter prepared with condescending bows for all the tenantry and cottagers who might have a hint to shew themselves: and Anne walked up at the same time, in a sort of desolate tranquility, to the Lodge, where she was to spend the first week.”

Tick-tick-tick. Time for writing class!

Here I am, ready to shop for notebooks.

Here I am, Chai tea in hand, all set to shop for their class notebooks. That’s 6:58 a.m.

In a last-minute turn around Friday, my high school fiction writing class zoomed to life. And here I thought I was going to have 2016-17 off. Nope, it’s a go. Time to introduce the world of commercial fiction writing to a new group of young writers. Hooray!

The students are excited, and so am I. I still don’t know precisely how many I’ll have, but I’ve spent today getting ready. So far the class consists of only guys. Isn’t that great? I’m hoping some of the girls will have an opening in their schedules. I’ll find out Monday.

Truth to tell, I benefit more than than any student. I read the articles aloud along with them; I watch the TED Talks and selected episodes of OPB’s On Point. I enjoy analyzing the movies. And as I add to their notebooks, I again interact with quotations–wise advice from authors who have come before. I need all the reinforcement I can get.

My guys from 2013, in a pathetic "book publicity" attempt

My guys from 2013, in a pathetic “book publicity” attempt

Our class sessions are focused on growth. I attempt to duplicate my own early experiences with fan fiction, in which I fearfully shared my writing with the wide world. Wonder of wonders, I discovered that I could be entertaining. In the same way, I read aloud each student’s story — and their classmates love listening. Even now, former students reminisce about favorite stories. Storytelling is powerful. There’s latent talent, but there’s also skill. And craftsmanship is something that can be learned.

1st-year-1“Somebody’s got to write bestsellers for the next generation,” I tell them. “Why not you?”

Why not indeed.

Former students have told me that this was their favorite high school class.  Truthfully, that’s because of them, not me. “This class is as good as you make it,” I say when we begin in September. And my students never disappoint.

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Writing: Work or Inspiration?

Am I a real writer?

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According to Steven Pressfield:

“There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.”

“Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalize. We don’t tell ourselves, “I’m never going to write my symphony.” Instead we say, “I’m going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow.”

Here’s a totally different point of view from Charles Bukowski:

““if you have to sit for hours staring at your computer screen or hunched over your typewriter searching for words, don’t do it.”

“unless it comes out of your soul like a rocket, unless being still would drive you to madness or suicide or murder, don’t do it.”

So who’s right? Do I have to pick one?

Actually, I’ve been in both places. Sometimes I have to force myself to sit down at my computer and write. Other times, the story is fighting to get out.

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It reminds me of cleaning house. Most of the time, I have to make myself do it, but if I know company is coming, it’s an act of desperation. I’m the Tasmanian devil, whirling through my house, cleaning everything in my path.

Right now, writing is work. However, when I work at writing, the inspiration comes.

Praise for the Yours By Design series

my-top-5-modern-ppKudos to our own Robin Helm. Her Yours By Design series made Of Pens and Pages’ Top 5 List. Hooray!

“I loved reading the entire series,” says Nissa, “and each book was quite the page-turner.”

We agree! Autumn’s crisp evenings and shorter days usher in perfect reading weather. Why not curl up with Robin’s books?

GIVEAWAY ALERT! Nissa is offering the entire series to one lucky winner! Here is your chance to enjoy Robin’s novels as e-books. Visit  Of Pens and Pages  for details.

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