Tuesday, January 29, 2019

"I Write It and Take My Chances."--John Steinbeck

Hello fellow writers,

You are probably that, writers, as you have come to this blog. Thank you so much for giving this your time and attention. I am honored. However, I was wondering what to offer you.

I know I have been neglecting this site while concentrating on other blogs. 

I do love you writers, bloggers or whatever. You don’t have to be a writer to show up here, and since you are here I feel I can take you into my confidence.

While working my way through Dominika and Cedric’s course, Trailblazer. I thought I knew what I wanted, but you know how it is with INNER WORK, sometime you find things you didn’t know you wanted. I knew I wanted to blog, and to write books, but I found that another area lit a fire under me.

After taking more seminars, workshops, courses, and training programs than you can shake a stick at. (Words of my mother. Although I still don’t know what that means.) I decided to see what I had soaked up. And what’s the point if you don’t apply it, or share it?

So, I’ve been writing my own course, not to copy the others that have come before me, but my own, and to find, in the process of writing, how I can be of service to others, and how it also applies to me.

I have two sites under construction, maybe eventually I will settle into my knitch. Few people know about these sites, you are the first I have told. I’ve gotten a few hits, at random I suppose.


If you care to give them a look-see, great. No pressure, as I said, they are a work in process. If you care to give input, my email address is jewellshappytrails@gmail.com

By for now. Don’t be a stranger.

Monday, January 14, 2019

This is Only for Those Folks Who Want to Blog or Write or be Heard

All others may be excused.

This excusal is something like my Catholic obstetrician of long ago who said the Catholic students learning to be doctors were excused from the contraceptive lecture.

Seth Godin says that everybody ought to blog. He’s not far off considering the number of bloggers out there. Godin blogs EVERY DAY. That’s hard to imagine producing at that level, but then he doesn’t follow the adage that a blog ought to be some 3,000 words long. Good for Godin. Sometimes his blog is only a few lines, sometimes 4 or 5 paragraphs. That’s my kind of blog, Say it, get to the point, and get off. 

Someone caught me online the other day with a free Health book. Husband dear was listening to the audio for a while then abandoned me and it. I wanted to find out the catch. Thirty minutes later after (the doctor) told me, then retold me, then told me what he told me, I realized that his free book was signing up for a newsletter subscription. Of course, it was with auto-renew. Got ya!

Must we be tricked into buying something?

Offer me the book. I might buy it. But then an ongoing subscription would add up to a whole lot more money than a single purchase of a book, and people are reluctant to spend 20 bucks for a book. They will, however, spend $49.99 for a subscription that will go on and on. You figure.

This morning I learned via Godin that Amazon sells junk. Rats. Good old Amazon. They sell good stuff too, but it is more like buyer beware. The reason Amazon can sell junk is that they have no shelf space needed to advertise their wares. In a store, one must prove that their product is viable to gain a place on their shelf. After that it must sell, or it’s gone.

When I saw a Shark Tank where one of the sharks INVESTED in a pimple popper simulator, I was bowled over. The pimple popper site got something like a million clicks. Try to compete with that.

If I don’t sell 200 copies of my book, The Frog’s Song—coming out May 17, 2019, the publisher will drop me. Think I can do it?

Do you ever wonder what message you have to give? I remember and have quoted Richard Bach many times: “Here is a test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t.”

Tomorrow would be Martin Luther King Jr’s 90th birthday. It looks as though it will be celebrated on the 21st, the third Monday of the month—when my first born child was in school, somehow it used to fall on her birthday which would be today.

 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

Shortly before King died, he talked about living until the age of 90. “You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be,” he said, “and one day some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. You refuse to do it because you are afraid…well, you may go on to live until you are 90, but you are just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90.”

Here is an incredibly beautiful video and song, “Starry Starry Night.” Lyrics over Van Gogh paintings. A blog reader sent it in response to my last blog and comment about Vincent Van Gogh. 



We need some laughs, let's not get too serious.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Art, Typos, & Everything Inbetween

When I found this in my ebox I almost choked: “Do not respond to this email, sadly; we are not able to respond to 1,000 emails a day.”

“Yeah, I get a thousand emails a day too, but mine are all trying to sell me insurance.”

I had turned to my emails as a diversion from editing my novel and saw that comment about not responding to their emails.

Thank you. I won’t.

Back to editing: I’m not an editor, I stink at editing, but I’m giving it my best shot. A friend told me to read a manuscript from the back to the front, that way you are more apt to see errors. Yeah, fine for a page or two, but 403 pages? I think not. I will keep my sanity and throw discretion to the wind.

You know how it is when reading our own material. Your eyes glaze over, you slide past a mistake without seeing it, for your brain fills in what you believe is there. Let a typo slip through in a published book, though, and it pops off the page like a boa constrictor.

This work I’m editing has been on my computer, on flash drives, in the file cabinet, and worked on for over 40 years. It is titled SARA. There are two Sara’s an old one and a young one. I was reworking the first dinner date of the young lovers, Sara and Ryan, at the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, California. For their menu, I was using my daughter’s and my Easter dinner at the Anasazi Restaurant in Santa Fe New Mexico.

Wait a minute.

 That’s not fair.

 Don’t copy the Anasazi

The Bonaventure might not be as good.

Readers might go expecting this dinner.  So, I scrapped the menu, although it had me salivating, and it was doubly hard to erase the dessert that was chocolate mousse served in a four- inch by four-inch chocolate grand piano—lid up.

However, courtesy of the Internet, I looked up the Bonaventure’s La Prime Restaurant menu—a research option not present 40 years ago. Now Sara and Ryan’s dinner is authentic.

The thrill of the Bonaventure is that a glass elevator shoots through the ceiling at the fifth floor, and climbs, hanging on the side of the building like Spiderman, up to the 32nd floor, home of their revolving restaurant.

If you sit in the restaurant for an hour, the entire restaurant will make a complete revolution, and you will have a panoramic view of the City of Angels. Someone commented that if you eat at the Bonaventure regularly and have a daughter, send her to me—that was in reference to a steak costing 70 bucks.

While I can sit at the computer writing until both legs fall off when I edit my butt goes numb in a half-hour or so.

Andy Warhol said, “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

Ernest Hemingway said to “Write drunk, edit sober.” Since he was known to bend a few elbows, (he had only two, but he bent them often) he might have meant that literally, but figuratively his principle works too. The creative phase comes dancing in like a fairy—or maybe marching in like a warrior. Either way, the artist is intoxicated.

A while back I read something Vincent Van Gogh wrote to his brother. Vincent was sitting in a cheap little hotel room looking out the window at a watery twilight, a thin lamp post, and a star. “It is so beautiful,” he wrote, “I must show you how it looks." And he the most beautiful, tender, little drawing of it. 

When I saw the movie Vincent where he pointed his brushes with his mouth, I said, “That man had lead poisoning.” But then perhaps his mental condition existed before he began painting. Poor guy, his letters to his brother were so sweet, he wanted love so badly, yet he felt continually rejected.

“There may be a great fire in our hearts,” wrote Van Gogh, “yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.”

What struck me after reading about Van Gogh’s lamp post view was that he wanted to show his brother what he saw. He wanted to bask in the beauty of the scene, and share it with someone else. “Do you see what I see? Do you feel what I feel? Is it exciting you as it is me?” Once a teacher of a writing class said that “All art is flawed.” I’m not sure I agree, for some paintings look pretty damn perfect to me, but maybe that’s what he meant—a rendition can never truly depict what the creator sees, neither can it adequately convey what is in his heart.

Have you ever had a dream or a soliloquy in your mind that sounded like God’s gift to man, but when you tried to write it down, it stank like a dead whale washed up on the beach?

Van Gogh’s little drawing and later painting, was his perspective, his rendition of the world. It wasn’t a photograph (not that photographs can’t be art), I’m talking about that rarified experience where a creator’s perception is heightened. It’s like sparkles in your eyes. It’s where a painter wants to slap paint on canvas, a musician wants to pound the keys, and a writer wants to throw up. Are the images I see seen the same way by others? How can I capture that? No wonder Van Gogh had a mental condition.

A painting titled “The Girl on the Pier,” in my novel sparked this line of thought. I want the painting to ignite something ethereal in the viewer, something, magical something that will make the painting more valuable than the subject painted on the canvas.

I want people so awestruck that when they view it that they will plunk down dollars for it at an auction. 

I want people so awestruck that when they view it that they will plunk down dollars for it at an auction.

This artist, Charlie Mackesy, is a genius, simple exquisite drawings, lessons on life. I was tickled to find them last night. I do not wish to infringe on a copyright, however I found his drawings scattered about over the Internet, so I'm hoping they are public domain. All credit goes to him.
Notice how in my effort to stay positive, I am refraining from comment about the spoiled brat in the white house who is punishing the American people by shutting down the government to get his own way.