January 7th, 2009

I write therefor I am

Writing Rocks.

I just wrote a short story for an online competition (under 1,000) words. I'm also going to try and work on my drabble (drabbles?) for next Monday night, when our Writing Circle meets for the first time.

And what has brought about this sudden burst of writing effort?

As I mentioned in this ENTRY yesterday, last night we attended Eric Witchey's presentation on How to Turn Critiques into Useful Revisions at the meeting of the Portland Chapter of Willamette Writers in downtown Portland.

As we entered and joined the group (Marilyn mistressmarilyn got a family membership for the two of us), we were given a complimentary copy of the January issue of The Writer Magazine (I seriously think we should subscribe, by the way), where Eric's most recent article appears, and a handout that outlined the lecture.

I almost skipped going, because I just didn't feel all that well -- but am I ever glad I decided to attend! I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Marilyn and I were just chattering away when we left the building after the lecture, we were so impressed and excited. Eric is BRILLIANT -- there are no other words to describe him. In looking over the handout neither one of us had known what to expect -- and had been inclined to think it would prove a waste of our time, frankly. But he's by far the best lecturer I've ever heard speak -- and clearly knows a ton about writing.

It was like taking a writing course to listen to him, believe me!

He described serious writing groups that are far from where we are at this point, but really interesting to hear about, even so. One of the things they did was limit members two minutes for speaking during a review of another person's manuscript -- unless they were willing to pay a dollar to speak an additional minute! Eric told how he'd paid for certain people to speak longer at times, tossing in dollars. At that point his lecture ended (!!!) -- and Marilyn and I both immediately said we'd have paid to hear him speak longer.

How often do you attend a lecture where you wish the speaker wouldn't stop talking?

We starting our usual joking about wanting to 'rub brains with him' (the intellectual version of sex, I guess) -- and talking about how HOT we find brilliant men to be. (That took us down memory lane, discussing some of the amazingly smart professors/instructors we had in college. We were blessed to know some really special teachers, I must say.) I wonder if Angel thought we were crazy, the way we carried on. (smile)

Anyway, the lecture was INSPIRING and motivating.

Before it started, I'd been sitting on a hard pew (it was held at The Old Church, a cool nonprofit historic site that's available for many community functions), not feeling that well and not sure I was happy to be attending.

Eric Witchey transformed my experience.

Many writers are simply NOT good speakers, but Eric Witchey is definitely an exception to that rule. (smile)

So, as I said before, this morning I actually wrote a short story to enter in a competition -- and hope to start on another soon. My goal isn't to win -- or even place -- at this point, but simply to get used to putting my work out there. It's time.

And as I mentioned, the current short story ("First Snow") had to be less than a thousand words -- and I find it pretty hard staying under, believe me! The deadline for submission is midnight Sunday, so there's no worries with having it ready on time.

I'd also like to try the competition Marilyn has already entered, but it should prove even more difficult, considering it has to be less than 750 words! (yikes) Considering I adore writing drabbles, it shouldn't be all that hard to do. But I tend to freak when hearing word caps of 1,000, 750 and 500.

Don't get me wrong -- I love writing fanfic. I suppose I always will. But I want to try my hand at fiction that can be shared by a wider audience -- and has the potential to be published. It's definately one of my 2009 goals.

stormy road

Our Camellia Bush Felled by Wind

I had to run an errand at the corner store, so I bundled against the rain and went out. Heading back, I discovered that our camellia bush was felled by the wind in the middle of the night! How sad!

Both Marilyn mistressmarilyn and I did hear a horrible, loud sound in the middle of the night (well, around 4:00 a.m., as I recall), but neither of us got up to see what it was. I remember thinking it sounded like something had banged against the side of the house!

The winds yesterday were terrible. It's bad enough that the whole area is dealing with terrible flooding everywhere, but when you add these winds, it just does us in. (sigh)

The problem is that the ground gets so wet it can't drain off the rain anymore, so we end up with standing water and very soft ground.

I phoned Hector (our yard guy) and asked him if it can be saved or not. He's going to come out either today or tomorrow and check it out. I figured we'd have expense either way -- whether we try to save it, or have to get it hauled off. So what the hell. Let's hope it's not too expensive!

On to the photos!

Our Camellia Bush Felled by Wind - Jan 6, 2009 - 1
The corner of the house on the side where the bush
fell down. You can see how the rain (and the snow
and ice) have torn up the ground. You can also see
the signs of standing water!

Our Camellia Bush Felled by Wind - Jan 6, 2009 - 2
The base of the tulip tree, near to the camellia
bush -- with more damage visible. You should
be seeing lots of green grass there!

Our Camellia Bush Felled by Wind - Jan 6, 2009 - 3
The felled camellia!

Our Camellia Bush Felled by Wind - Jan 6, 2009 - 4
A close up of the camellia roots.

Our Camellia Bush Felled by Wind - Jan 6, 2009 - 5
The view from the sidewalk in front of the house.

Our Camellia Bush Felled by Wind - Jan 6, 2009 - 6
From the side yard looking toward the front street.

Our Camellia Bush Felled by Wind - Jan 6, 2009 - 7
From the side yard.

Our Camellia Bush Felled by Wind - Jan 6, 2009 - 8
What you're seeing here is the tree on the same side
of the house as the camellia bush. There used to be
another tree next to it, but it fell due to rain-soaked
ground and high winds!

We've been worried about the tree out back, in all honesty. It never occurred to me that the bush might come down!

Rain, rain, go away...

Same to you, high winds!