“Artists are people who are not at all interested in the facts—only in the truth. You get the facts from outside. The truth you get from inside.” --Ursula K. LeGuin

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Anyone Who Wants to be a Writer, but Isn't Writing...Isn't.

I’m proud of you guys, for you have out-viewed my other blog, and I don’t send out any notices here. (Oh, I'll place a notice on Twitter.) I don’t know who you are, but I’m glad you’re here and would love to have you check in.

My other side is www.wishonwhitehorses.com, probably confusing for one might wonder if it’s about horses or wishing or what. See, I’m not good at branding. (Every time I pull out that big branding iron I burn myself.)

But we’re writers. We band together. We encourage each other. We write because we must, and in that we understand each other.

I got this from Seth Gobin’s blog:
The best way to build a brand that matters, a story that spreads, an impact that we remember, is to understand a simple but painful trade-off:

If you want to stand for something,
You can't stand for everything.
"Anyone can be our customer and we will get you what you want..." is almost impossible to pull off. So is, "we are the cheapest and the most convenient and the best."
It didn't work for Sears, or for Chevrolet or for Radio Shack. It definitely doesn't work for the local freelancer, eager to do whatever is asked. (It used to work, but no longer does. Think of the Sear's catalog, and Montgomery Ward, for a long time they dominated the field.)
Relentlessly trimming an offer, combined with a resolute willingness to say, "no," are two characteristics of great brands. And linchpins, too.”
Now listen to this. If you’re trying to get media followers, it can eat you up trying to out-number the other guy. And Banks, and Hospitals, for heaven’s sake. “Like us.” Does that really increase their business?

Last night I heard this: there is a girl on social media with 8 million followers. EIGHT MILLION.  And all she does is show pictures of her derriere.

What is she standing for?


Well, she got it.

Now to make a living she will have to find something to sell.

Butt pictures can’t last forever.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Dutch Love

“Just as a good rain clears the air, a good #writing day clears the psyche.” –Julia Cameron #am writing

               * Dutch Bros Love

Good morning,

I came home from a #Tony Robbins Event a week ago. He jammed 52 hours of fun, bombardment, yelling, dancing, processing, breathing, pushing buttons, expanding our consciousness, even walking on hot coals into those days. I know, the walking on hot coals gets the most attention, but it is not the most important.  It was about taking that first step…and second…and third, until you get to the other side.

Rather like writing isn’t it?

For the past week, I’ve been writing out my experience on my other blog www.wishonwhitehorses.com.

 “Strike while the iron is hot,” so to speak. Therefore I have neglected this site. Remember, though, that you are loved, never forget that. You writers have courage and perseverance, love in your heart and devotion to your craft. I congratulate you.

I realized at the event that I don’t have the time, or the inclination to wait while the wheels of publishing turn. Maybe I have twenty years left, but I don’t want to spend them waiting. The time is now. It is time for action.

It is rather like spending twenty years on the psychiatrist's couch pouring out in Freudian style our needs, hurts, etc, or changing one’s state in an instant. I learned to do that. That is the main reason I went to “Unleash the Power Within.”

Probably you guys are established writers, proficient, and making Mondo bucks. Me, I’m sitting here pecking out my thoughts, aspirations, dreams, and determined to make it work.

My purpose is to make it work for me, and for others who wish to join me, for I believe we writers ought to encourage each other.

Sometimes one little act can change the direction of one’s life.

The first day of the event I learned that Tony wouldn't be there the following day.  My reaction was, "Hey, I thought we got were getting Tony for 3 and one-half days."  (He has injured his throat, and needs a day of rest.) 

However, the presenter of the second day, Joseph McClendon III, won me over. I love him.

His story is that he was homeless for a time sleeping in a box in Lancaster California. You can drive for miles around Lancaster and only see sand and telephone poles—that story comes later.

The reason he was sleeping in a box was that someone tried to kill him because of the color of his skin. He thought, “If someone would do that to me. There must be something wrong with me.”

 One day a man gave him a book.

 It was Think and Grow Rich.

 He read it and went back to the man who had given it to him with the understanding that when someone gives you a gift you ought to give them something in return.

 The man said to pass it on, not the book specifically, but the principles, and now McClendon is a neuro-psychologist in L.A. and a presenter at the Tony Robbins event. He says it isn’t the motivation, it’s the “Do.”

While McClendon was urging us to believe we rocked, he suggested that when we approach an automatic door where two doors part like a theater curtain, that we swing wide our arms as though we caused it, stand in the open doorway, blow kisses and bow.

He had been doing that. 

One day he approached a grocery store with his little two-year-old son holding onto his finger. You know how toddlers hold your finger? As they approached the automatic doors to the grocery store he felt his son pull away. The little boy stood before the doors, waved wide his arms like a magician, and stood arms spread with a big smile on his face.

There happened to be a Starbucks Coffee shop right inside the doors, and seeing the little boy standing like a composer who had just conducted the Philharmonic orchestra, the people sitting there applauded.

*I had to include this picture of Dutch Bro’s Love, for the first day of the event my seat companion was sent to the Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within event with 29 others by the #Dutch Brother Coffee company. (Plane, Hilton Hotel, the works.) (This picture went viral.)

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Genie

Long ago it was believed that a genius was not the person, but an entity outside that person. It was as though a genie lived in the walls where the  creative person labored and spoke to them on rare or numerous occasions.

The job of the person was to show up, to do the work.

You see, that way the work was not totally coming from the person, and they could not, therefore, take total credit. Likewise, if the work smelled of rotten tomatoes, they weren’t totally responsible either.

I got this from a TED talk by #Elizabeth Gilbert author of Eat, Pray, Love.

You can find it on YTube, “Your elusive creative genius—Elizabeth Gilbert”

It’s fabulous.

We all yearn to touch brilliance, and we try to push it out of us. “I can’t do it,” we wail. “What I do is all a load of crap. I’ll never make it. Why do I feel pulled by the scruff of the neck to do this thing I do? Is this my life work? Am I deluding myself?”

“They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week or the next year?...

 “Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”—PATRICK HENRY

P.S. Robin Williams, the voice of the blue genie in Aladdin, ad libbed so much of the role they had 16 hours of film. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Writers, Keep on Keeping On

Author Roald Dahl held onto a school report he had written as a kid. You know him from his books, James and The Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, among many others. The teacher wrote, “I have never met anybody who so persistently writes words meaning the exact opposite of what is intended.”

Was that a compliment or an insult?

But then hearing of his English boarding school experience I wouldn’t trust anything a teacher wrote about him or any other student for that matter.

How often have we heard famous artists say that someone told them they would never be an actor (John Travolta,) that they would never be an artist, (Vincent van Gogh) or that selling their stupid chicken recipe is a dumb idea. (Colonel Sanders.) And imagine, a movie producer didn’t want Sylvester Stallone to play the part of Rocky.

After a performance at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, Elvis was told by the concert hall manager that he was better off returning to Memphis and driving trucks (his former career).

J.K Rowling was told not to quit her day job.

Steven King’s most renowned and first book, Carrie, was rejected thirty times. King decided to toss the book, which his wife then went through the trash to rescue and convinced him to re-submit it.

Think of Babe Ruth who said, “Every strikeout brings me closer to a home run.

Success comes from vulnerability, rejection, discomfort, and a hell of a lot of effort – with no guarantee of a payoff.


Friday, September 30, 2016

Oh oh

Good thing I’m not Stephen King’s student, because of me, he'd kick the furniture. 

This phrases “Some people say,” drives King nuts, and I have used it. 

That ends today.

Jessica Lahey teaches writing and grammar.  She had stated that she couldn’t get her students engaged until she gave them a copy of King’s On Writing.

In an interview with Stephen King Lahey says: “In On Writing, you identified some phrases that should be excised from every writer’s toolbox: “At this point in time” and “at the end of the day.” Any new irksome phrases you’d be willing to share? (Mine’s “on accident.”)

King: “Some people say,” or “Many believe,” or “The consensus is.” That kind of lazy attribution makes me want to kick something. Also, IMHO, YOLO, and LOL.

 (I don’t’ know that those abbreviations mean, so guess I’m home free on that one.)

In the introduction to Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, E.B. White recounts William Strunk’s instruction to “omit needless words.” 

Kings books are voluminous, states Lahey, how then, does he make his writing concise? What words are unnecessary and which words are required for the telling?”

“King: It’s what you hear in your head, but it’s never right the first time. So you have to rewrite it and revise it. My rule of thumb is that a short story of 3,000 words should be rewritten down to 2,500. It’s not always true, but mostly it is. You need to take out the stuff that’s just sitting there and doing nothing. No slackers allowed! All meat, no filler!”

“The best thing—maybe the only thing—is to tell the student that telling the truth is the most important thing, much more important than the grammar. —Steven King

“Lahey: If your writing had not panned out, do you think you would have continued teaching?

“King: Yes, but I would have gotten a degree in elementary ed. I was discussing that with my wife just before I broke through with Carrie. Here’s the flat, sad truth: By the time they get to high school, a lot of these kids have already closed their minds to what we love. I wanted to get to them while they were still wide open. Teenagers are wonderful, beautiful freethinkers at the best of times. At the worst, it’s like beating your fists on a brick wall. Also, they’re so preoccupied with their hormones it’s often hard to get their attention.”

I have wondered why while my seven-year-old Grandson has picked up language and English grammar, even with all its irregularities, dare I say, perfectly, yet, in school we spend 12 years studying English Grammar. Then some of us go on to College and take “Bonehead English,” because we still haven’t gotten it.

Did those years of studying form and substance only serve to muddle the English usage waters?

King says that, “One either absorbs the grammatical principles of one’s native language in conversation and in reading or one does not.” If this is true,” asks Lahey, “ Why teach grammar in school at all? Why bother to name the parts?”

King: When we name the parts, we take away the mystery and turn writing into a problem that can be solved. I used to tell them that if you could put together a model car or assemble a piece of furniture from directions, you could write a sentence. Reading is the key, though. A kid who grows up hearing “It don’t matter to me” can only learn doesn’t if he/she reads it over and over again.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

I'll Hold the Umbrella

Well heck, I didn't write a new blog post. I was so busy with www.wishonwhitehorses.com I forgot to write here.

I missed me.

I looked onto http://www.bestddamnwritersblog.com and found I didn’t write anything last week. And that was the week I decided I needed a new shorter URL to support this blog. You can tell my head has been somewhere else--like looking at properties and houses.

So, what do you want to talk about?

Writing? Yes. Blogging? Absolutely. Being happy? Oh yeah, that too. Selling your writing? Hahahaha.

You know there are a zillion people trying to tell you how to blog or what to write or to use hack headlines to get attention.

I'm not going to tell you any of those things. I going to tell you to put your butt on the chair and write from the heart and put it out there and let the world judge it. However, if you like what you have written, if you love what you are doing, keep on doing it, no matter what people say.

I love having you stop by. I love writers and all those people who put their heart on the line in their blogs.

I will post more here in a day or two. I promise.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Please Tell Me

Don't be afraid. Jump in.
Do you like informational blogs with a video that has the script on screen and reads it to you?

Do you like videos rather than plain content writing?
I’m baffled.

I’m curious as to what people really want, or what promoters think we want.

This is like seeing skulls all over the place, on tee-shirts, hats, on blogs, I ask people what they mean and nobody can tell me.

What is the fascination with skulls?
Is it the Mexican Day of the Dead that is so alluring? Am I lost in Ancietism (my word) or what?

Are you a writer? A blogger?

Are you playing to the trends or setting your own?
A couple of days ago someone asked me what I blog about. I said “Life, whatever I think about, what I wish for.”

I want it to be informative or at least interesting enough to read. And I guess I am searching for kindred souls. You know what they say that we need a tribe.

It isn’t so much that I am looking for numbers although that seems to impress publishers. Think about it. though, if you have two zillion followers you know good and well that most of them are not reading your words—so I am looking for quality, for someone with which to share.

So, jump in.  Add your sixty-four-million-dollar input.

And maybe I would get some clarification on my questions.

P.S. My new dot com address is http://www.bestdamnwritersblog.com

Monday, September 12, 2016

From the ole Crap Buster

A friends’ husband categorized me as that, and it warmed me for two years.

I’m semi Woo Woo.

I find I am often in the middle. I go to far-out groups, and say, “Okay guys, dampen it a little.”

If I’m in the mainstream group, I say, “I’m out of here.”

Motivated by Caz Makepeace's #Y Travel blog, I am adding my two dimes and a nickel's worth.

I am astounded at how many travel bloggers are out there, and how many travel full time. #Caz Makepeace is one. She travels with her husband, two young daughters, and has a highly successful blog and website.

 I am in awe.

Uh oh, serious mouse encroachment--erased material. I had to begin again.

Double mouse encroachment

Back to the blog: I have traveled a bit and loved it. I stood beside the Parthenon in Athens Greece as a golden sunrise enlivened it.

I climbed the stepped pyramid at Chichen Itza in the Yucatan and stood at what was once called the “Holy of Holies,” that room at the tip top. 

From my lofty perspective, I looked out over what was once a city, the temple of the warriors, the ball court and the Yucatan Peninsula where the horizon was flat as a pencil line drawn across the page of my vision.  

I’ve been to some places, but as you can imagine there is a whole world that I have not touched. I believe as Caz puts it “Travel is not to run away, but toward.’

Perhaps our move to Hawaii was to run away, and that’s the reason we didn’t like it, but I have no regrets. To travel is to rise above and beyond who we are, to experience a new day every day, and to step out of our present conditions.

Imagine sitting in a dandelion-dotted field in Germany, the green so green it brings tears to your eyes,  and you are eating cold pizza from the night before, and it is the best you have ever tasted.

“When you travel, life around you is constantly changing. This means you never get lost in the blur of mundaneness. You’re highly aware of what is happening, how things move from one day to the next, and how to flow with change.

“It’s a mindfulness so easy to tap into, which is why I feel travel is so addictive.´--Caz

Can you remember what happened last Tuesday? I can’t.

Regarding her travel blog Caz writes: “It feels like it’s not very powerful because you’re just helping someone find a good burger, but in reality, we’re helping people create moments and memories. It’s those moments and memories that shape and impact their lives and lead them to new horizons and help them experience JOY.”

Caz went on to talk about Chakras and cleansing, and going to a spiritual medium, and said, ““Believe me when I say that writing this post brings me tears.”

She wanted to write about who she was but in doing so felt vulnerable and felt that people would judge her as being woo woo, or cuckoo and she realized that she was afraid of being criticized.

I realized, too, that here on this blog I have dampened who I was because I feared people would think  I was cuckoo, but in the process I come across lukewarm.

I do not want to be lukewarm, but then I wonder who am I. What do I believe, and what do I want to share?

And blogs can be so self-centered, but then what choice do we have, you aren’t here talking to me. It is a one-way conversation.

As I mentioned before I intend to go to a Tony Robbins 3-day event in November, and I know some people love him, while others have a strong negative reaction.  He is threatening. He doesn’t pull punches. He has been doing his work for so long he can read people and that is scary.

People are going to think whatever thoughts they want so we might as well do our thing and let the chips fall where they may.

"The possibility of having dreams come true is what makes life interesting,"--Paulo Coelho

Sunday, August 28, 2016

"Stay Drunk on Writing so the World Does Not Destroy You."*

The title is a Ray Bradbury quote...as well as this:

"If you know how to Read, you have a complete education."

Seventy-five years of writing for one man...isn't that awesome?!

When Ray Bradbury looked into the library he saw a whole world. There, books came alive for him. It was there he educated himself--starting at one end of the library and reading himself around it. 

For us, it is the Internet.

I stumbled upon #James Scott Bell's blog, "The Night I Met Ray Bradbury," on the Internet, and it took me back to the times I devoured Bradbury's books. 

You remember The Marcian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, The Illustrated Man, and others. 

And I remember the two times I heard him speak.

One time was when I attended an Optics Conference with my husband. Bradbury spoke to a room full of scientists, not writers, but then who knows, I was there. 

After he spoke I walked up to him, and said, “I was going to ask for an autograph, but how about a handshake instead?" 

And he said, "How about a hug?"

This is how I remember him.

It was a little hard seeing him older on the YouTube video, but he was still the wise one.

I warn you, if you watch video you'll fall in love.

In his early years, with a wife and two young daughters, he moved to L.A, (L.A. traffic? No wonder that man never drove). 

But he had no office.

He happened into the basement of the UCLA library where he heard typing. Following the sound, he came to a room filled with maybe 25 typewriters. For 10 cents per half hour, anyone could rent a typewriter. 

He had found his office.

For $9.80 he wrote a small version of Fahrenheit 451, then called The Fireman. 

The publisher wanted to expand The Fireman into book length so Bradbury went back to the typing room and added another 25,000 words. Also, the publisher didn't like the title, so Bradbury called the science department and asked at what temperature book paper burned.

They didn't know.

But the Fire Department did.

Fahrenheit 451. 

Before the hug experience, I heard Bradbury speak at a writers conference at San Diego University.  We sat outside on the grass and he talked to us, and I'm embarrassed that I haven't made more of a success with my writing, but I have followed his advice, 

"Love what you do and do what you love."

"Find an author who can lead you through..." maybe that's is what is calling me...go back to two books many consider to be Bibles for writers, Bradbury's, Zen and the Art of Writing, and Steven King's, On Writing; "A Memoir of the Craft." I would put Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird on that list. It's genius.

None of my notes from that San Diego Conference exist, so I am including a Bradbury's ebullience from #James Scott Bell's blog, #Kill Zone, "The Night I Met Ray Bradbury."

·       Do word associations, as a way of letting your subconscious tell you what is inside you.

·       Creating is NOT about fame, NOT about money. It’s about having fun.

·       Just do it.

·       Writing every day for 57 years. That wasn’t work. That was fun!

·       The intellectuals want us to believe it’s no good unless it’s tortured. The hell with that!

·       Do what you love. Let it out into the world. If you’re lucky, you’ll get some money. But if you don’t, do it anyway.

·       “I work for free. I haven’t made any money on any of my plays. But I love theatre. And I put up productions around town. And when I see the actors who’ve been in them on the street, we embrace, because we did what we loved and we had this experience together. For free. All the money went to my actors.”

·       Don’t think while you’re doing it. Think after it’s done.

·       He uses no outlines. He wakes up in the morning and lays in bed until his characters, his voices, compel him to “scramble to the typer” and record them before they get away.

"Do what you love. Let it out into the world. If you’re lucky, you’ll get some money. But if you don’t, do it anyway." 

Saturday, August 27, 2016


For a writer who wants to publish without an agent.

Click here, and I will send you a copy. It came to me free, so I’m passing it on.

Now for the Real gold:

“One only connects the dots by looking backward.” –Steve Jobs

Minutes ago I listened to Steve Jobs giving the 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University. He said it was the closest he had ever come to a commencement.

Steve Jobs never graduated from college.

His commencement address consisted of three stories.

One: Dropping out of College
 Job’ s unwed college student mother placed a stipulation on his adoption, that he be adopted by college graduates. As it turned out he was adopted, not by college graduates, but by parents who promised to send him to college.

At Reed College, however, Jobs realized he was spending his parent’s life savings on something he didn’t want to do, so he dropped out.

However, he hung around the campus for another 18 months, dropping into classes he wanted. As he wandered the campus he noticed that most of the flyers and posters were written in beautiful handwritten calligraphy.  It was, he said, a subtle way of writing that science could not do.

He attended the calligraphy class where he learned that different letters have different spacing and heights.

Before Macintosh, personal computers allotted each letter on a keyboard the same space regardless of its shape. Thanks to its bitmap high-resolution display and Job’s knowledge of calligraphy the Macintosh renders  proportional fonts, leaving behind the tyranny of monospace alphabets with their narrow m’s and wide s's. 

Because of Job’s calligraphy class—as well as his determination to see his idea come to fruition, we have the wonderful readability of typographic fonts.

“You have to trust in something, Life, Karma, Something.” –Steve Jobs

Two: Getting fired from Apple.

How can one get fired from the company they started?—long story.

After being devastated Jobs realized, ”I still love what I did.”

So he started over and found the lightness of being a beginner again.

Pixar was one result. With the movie Toy Story breaking all records, and PIXAR going on to be the primo animation studio. Many companies have copied, but none, have come up the quality of PIXAR.

In 2005, at his commencement speech, Job's was again CEO of Apple and the highest stockholder of PIXAR.

PIXAR's little light is genius.

 Three: Death

“If today is the last day of my life would I do what I am about to do?”—Steve Jobs

Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and told to go home and put his affairs in order, aka, doctor talk for prepare to die. However, a biopsy proved that his particular pancreatic cancer was a rare form that was operable. He had the operation and in 2003, and at the commencement address in 2005 he said he was fine.

The median survival rate for pancreatic cancer is 5 months.

Steve died in 2011. Eight years after diagnosis.

Steve Jobs 10 rules for Success:

1.                 Don’t live a limited life.
2.               Have passion.
3.               Design for yourself.
4.               Don’t sell crap.
5.                Build a great team.
6.               Don’t do it for the money.
7.                Be proud of your products
8.               Build around customers
9.               Marketing is about values
10.          Stay Hungry.  Stay Foolish.

“Find what you love
“Don’t settle.

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.