Friday, April 20, 2007

My Favorite Type of Writing - a Meme - and other stuff

I still need to do the meme Chris tagged me for, but since Andi of Tripping Toward Lucidity and Heather of A High and Hidden Place both also tagged me for a very short meme on favorite writing types, I've decided to go for the writing meme first. It's easier on my little brain. You get to see all sorts of stupid links to my writing, in this one. Oh, goody.

"What's Your Favorite Type of Writing?" And I should mention, your favorite type of writing to do as opposed to your favorite type of writing to read.

Actually, that's a little harder than I thought. Sigh. I think my strong suit in writing is probably the most outwardly boring thing on the planet: writing book reviews and articles. I only really enjoy writing them if I have the freedom to write casually, in a style that I consider chatty and conversational, hence the decision to begin blogging, last year, which gave me the option to post a serious review on my somewhat staid listserv and then talk more freely about my feelings at length, elsewhere. Writing columns or articles is my most heavily published area, as I used to write articles on writing (which were published in various newsletters) and have been involved in writing for two ezines, now (shameless plug for Andi and Heather's cool new book ezine: see Estella's Revenge). My old ezine column was a slice-of-life humor column called "Signs of Life" and the columns are still archived. You can read my third column, which is among my personal favorites, here.

I think my favorite type of writing is anecdotal, but I get the most satisfaction out of completed creative writing, probably because it's something I really have to work hard to finish. I've "won" National Novel Writing Month, twice, but only actually wrote "The End" on one of those two books. And, I've had exactly one short story published. My friend, John, used to rib me about the fact that I had exactly five rejection letters and one published story. He thought that was a pretty good percentage, I guess. In five years, I still haven't altered those statistics. How sad is that? That's because I really haven't written much fiction, apart from those NaNo novels.

Gosh, I hope that didn't put you to sleep. I tag Canadian Chris of Book-a-Rama and Jessica of In Search of Dessert to continue this meme.

Just finished: Earthly Joys by Philippa Gregory. Finally. Review forthcoming.

Almost done with: The Secret Lives of People in Love by Simon Van Booy

Didn't get around to: Posting a Thursday Thirteen. But, I thought about it and started a list; I wasn't actually sure if it was . . . . I don't know, relevant? I was just going to mention thirteen beautiful things from my walk in the park, yesterday. I think I'll just give you a quick list, right now. Here you go.

13 Beautiful Things I saw, heard and smelled in the Park, Yesterday (and a few small pics of some of them, which kiddo and I took, later - 'cause New Orleans Chris asked to see photos):

1. A fuzzy vanilla-colored caterpillar in a hurry (he was hauling - it was so cute).
2. Purple-flowered weeds that are knockout gorgeous.

3. A hawk lazily circling above me and then landing in the top of a tree.
4. Male and female cardinals - a couple - flying together.
5. A jogging mother pushing a dual stroller (one baby, one toddler) with a gorgeous dog on a leash, running at their side.
6. An angel tombstone in the Jewish cemetery (a really interesting old cemetery that borders the park near its exit - you can read about people who died in the yellow-fever epidemics during the 19th century on some of the tombstones).

7. My friend, Tom, leaning on a pickup truck to chat with someone. He never fails to turn to say, "Hey, Nance, how ya doin'?" or wave if he's farther away (or driving past - he works in the park).
8. Bluebirds nesting in a cannon.

9. Three yellow butterflies that swirled around my legs.
10. Mystery snow - really, I don't know what it was, maybe something like cottonwood seeds or insects swarming? Whatever I saw, it was from a distance, back-lit, and looked like falling snow. It was beautiful.
11. Honeysuckle! I love the smell, taste, and sight of honeysuckle!
12. This other plant, which has a powerful, cloying smell but is very attractive:

13. Our flag at half-mast. It's a sad sight, but also a nice symbol of solidarity during a time of grief for many.

I chopped those photos down thinking they'd be good to stick at the top of future Thursday Thirteens (you can click on any of them to see a larger image). Anyone who can teach me how to add lettering to a photo, would you, please please please? I could use some help. I've asked the spouse and he just says, "Photoshop. Need to learn Photoshop." Okay, yes. But, the only course I've seen advertised locally is a night course in Jackson and I can't do that because Mom Chauffeuring is the priority.

Just bought: Some camouflage clothing so I can try not to freak out the wildlife when I want to get a bit closer. Seriously. My husband thinks I've lost it. We'll see if the camo works. I'm pale and blonde, almost luminous in the spring when I have no hint of a tan. Shoot, I'd be frightened if I was a bird and saw a bright thing like a Bookfool heading in my direction.

Hope to get that review posted, tonight. Happy Friday, everybody!


  1. The "just bought" paragraph at the end of this post cracked me up!

    Beautiful pics as always. I've never seen a blue bird in new sad..

    I'd love to read some of your fiction. Have any hiding out anywhere online?

  2. A bird in a cannon! Something I can honestly say I've never seen before! Love it!

    And I can't wait to read your column. Going now!

  3. Chris,

    You'd be laughing right now, if you could see me. I tried on my new camo pants and olive t-shirt, just to see if they would fit. And, then I had to drop the kiddo off at swimming and hubby said, "Hey, let's go eat at Billy's" (Italian restaurant, believe it or not). I was soooo not planning to go out in public like this! The pizza was great, though. :)

    Really? No bluebirds in N.O.? I'm shocked! They're gorgeous birds. I don't think I'd ever seen any before we moved here.

    Nope, no fiction online except for my Nano excerpt (it's awful, IMHO). You'd have to sign up for a user ID to view it, though.


    It was my first bird in a cannon, to my knowledge. I think the fact that I've been taking a lot of photos has helped me to spot photo-opportunities a little better, so I just got all giddy when I was out walking and saw the bluebird pop into the cannon. You should have heard me squeal after he posed for me, too. :)

    Hope you like my column. Now, I'm all nervous!

  4. The angel reminds me of the one Les posted on her blog. Both are so beautiful. I wish I had one in my garden. In fact, I wish I had a prayer labyrinth as well. Have you ever seen those? They're a maze that you walk through as you pray, to help keep you focused or something I'm not sure. But they are beautiful.

  5. Beautiful pics!

    I completed your meme mission, lol.

  6. Bellezza,

    I wondered where I'd seen an angel like that! It's quite a lovely monument. Someday, I need to traipse up the hill and see who it memorializes.

    No, I've never heard of a prayer labyrinth. It sounds cool, though. I'll have to look that up, thanks!


    Thanks for both the compliment and for playing along. I'll dash right over to see!!

  7. How do you get these incredible pics?!? :D

  8. Maggie,

    I have a pretty nice camera and a 125-300mm zoom lens. It's called "cheating". :)

  9. Great post! I love your pictures. I need to get out and take some more myself. It's just been so rainy and miserable lately. Supposed to be a beautiful weekend though, maybe I can get some.

    Interested to see what you thought of the Gregory book. She's very hit or miss with me.

  10. The Bluebird in the cannon is a great shot. And purple flowers are always beautiful whether they're weeds or not, I say!

    Your 'Christmas Valentine's Easter letters' was fun to read! I never get my Christmas cards done on time although I usually try to get them done by Jan. sometime. Although one year I just skipped it.

    About putting text on pictures, I guess it depends on how snazzy you want to be. If you just want to add text, there are probably lots of cheap software programs out there that allow you to add text. H gave me a program he already had called Macromedia Fireworks and that's what I use for my pictures and headers. The pro version of Photoshop is really expensive although there is the Photoshop Elements version that I've been wondering if it might be nice to have as it's considerably cheaper, around $100 instead of $600.

  11. Heather,

    Thanks. Our weather has been just perfect, lately, apart from one rainy day. I try to just go outside and walk around or just stand and wait for nature to fly, walk and flutter around me, now and then, if I don't have time to explore elsewhere. It seems to work but we do sort of live in a jungle. LOL

    I've got yard work to do, but I'll try to get a review written, tonight. I liked the book but there was some graphic sex that I wish I'd skimmed a little faster but otherwise I enjoyed it and will probably give it a slightly above average rating. It wasn't very quotable.


    Thanks and I agree with you on the purple flowers comment. :)

    Glad you enjoyed my old column! I've been horrible about Christmas cards for about 5 or 6 years, now. This year, I only sent cards to blog and listserv friends - my mother didn't even get one! Oops.

    Thanks for the info on the programs. We'll look into them. David said he was wondering what Photoshop Elements is about. Pro versus elements - just the names indicate that I don't need the more expensive version. :)

  12. Anonymous5:14 AM

    I never knew you were a writer. Thanks for sharing your views. Stunning pics again. You should consider publishing a wildlife picture book :)

    As regards adding text to pictures. A very, very simple method is to use Microsoft Paint.

    1. Open the picture in Paint.
    2. Click the "A" font button.
    3. Click the lowest button in the left hand column (It's to add text in transparency mode instead of with a white background)
    4. Click where you want in the picture and type. (You can change font type, color, size etc)
    5. Save picture.

    If you have any problems, drop me an email.

  13. Gavin,

    Yep, I just don't write as prolifically as I used to, so I don't talk about it much. :)

    I wouldn't mind publishing a book of photos, some day. Hmmm.

    Thank you!!! I don't know if I have Microsoft Paint on this computer, but I did on my last. If I've got a copy, I'll give it a whirl and if I don't, I'll hang onto your instructions and find a copy!! Thank you, thank you!

  14. Great column on Signs of Life. It reminded me a bit of Jeanne Laskas' weekly column for the Washington Post. I'll forward you a couple that I've saved, if you're interested.

    That bluebird in the cannon picture is fabulous. I've only seen bluebirds a few times when we lived out on an acreage. Never close enough to be able to appreciate the vibrant blue breast, though.

  15. Les,

    Thanks, yes, I'd love to read the Jeanne Laskas columns. I'm not familiar with her writing. I wrote Signs of Life for about three years, but then I started to feel like I was running out of material. And, I kind of hate deadlines. :)

    That's an Eastern Bluebird and they are absolutely stunning. When I first saw them, I was shocked. In flight, you just see this bright blue streak whip past but they're so eye-catching I've wanted to photograph them for years. I need a tripod, darn it, so I can get a clearer photo!!!


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