January 14, 2011

Dear Critique Partner/Build it first/

Dear Critique Partner:

In regards to recent criticism of your work, remember this:
when we give a piece of our story to someone to read - we expect them to see the whole. It's like building a house and giving someone a single piece of lumber. “Here, see the house I'm building.” SOME CAN SEE IT AND SOME CAN’T.

This step is as necessary to me as breathing. I need to give you single boards as I create them. AND I expect you to be a visionary and say, “Why yes. I see.” (EVEN if you don't!) I need you to see how special the piece of lumber is that I'm using and to see that eventually I'll add more pieces to make the whole.

Choose people to read your work who like the kind of stories you write. Then, they'll appreciate the pieces. There are as many kinds of stories as there are houses to live in. If you give a brick ranch to someone who only appreciates a high rise he'll have a hard time fitting himself into what you are offering.

Don’t rebuild your story until it's built. This is where I fall short. I try to restructure in the middle of structuring. I’M TRYING TO CHANGE THE WAY I WORK.

DO talk to other "builders" and let them see your structure and let them make comments but keep in mind what each particular builder builds and pick and choose what he offers making sure that what you take is helpful to your story.

I have people who can't read my work until it's finished because they can't see at all what I'm intending - although they may like the finished piece.
Others can be with me from start to finish. They are the visionaries. They like single paragraphs of my work.

DON’T take every piece of advice you get and nail it onto your structure - otherwise just as in house building you will have boards nailed every which way and end up with a structure that would not pass inspection.

Take heart, friend. You're doing wonderful work. You've done wonderful work in the past. Take what you can from each reader - you're the builder and you have to decide what you can use and what you can't - and build that sucker.

Blessings, Barb
PS I'm great at giving advice. Not so good at taking it.

January 12, 2011

Quote by Emily Carr 1871-1945

"I think that one's art is a growth inside one. I do not think one can explain growth. It is silent and subtle. One does not keep digging up a plant to see how it grows." E.C.

Just as one does not dig up a plant to see how it grows ---one does not judge the hue or color of a flower until it blooms.

Yet we seem to want, I seem to want, to dissect and judge every piece of my story before it's completed - when it is in its infancy.

That's what I'm thinking about today.
Writing, it really is up and down.
Off here to create today's portion of my story.


YA fave - The Coffin Quilt by Ann Rinaldi

I wanted to recommend a good book for you to read if you're stuck in the house due to bad weather. A few years ago a friend gave me COFFIN as a gift. I believe she bought it at the Tamarack in WV, which I love.
The book is classified as young adult but it satisfied my adult mind.
It's the fictionalized story of young Fanny McCoy of the Hatfields and McCoys.
The author warns: This is a historical novel. Read at your own risk. The writer feels it necessary to alert you to the fact that you might enjoy it.
Go read this book and let me know how you liked it.

January 3, 2011


My husband and I are becoming addicted to the Dr. Oz show. Well, he watches and I’m addicted. I’m energized by this man’s vim and vigor. He jumps out onto stage and within minutes is giving me ways to live longer and better. I find myself jumping up and down with him at the very thought of living so long and feeling so good.

What’s not to like about a man named Mehmet who comes on every morning and cheers me while I eat my steel cut oats, walnuts, and blueberries.

But, let me warn you, if you haven’t watched his show, it involves a lot of diseased body parts and slabs of body fat brought out on trays to show us what our insides look like on a bad day.

Everything he talks about whether it’s a dysfunction with sex, sleep, or daily living, there is something that can be bought at the pharmacy or health food store to alleviate the problem. From erectile dysfunction to constipation - Dr. Oz is all over it.

Some of the stuff he recommends can even be plucked out of the yard. Take sassafras root for example. When I learned one of the trees in our yard was sassafras, I was out there on my knees paying homage to the tree and instructing my husband on how to cut one of its roots so we could enjoy a cup of healthy tea. After several hours of major chopping on his part with his trusty (but old) ax, and the exchange of some colorful words on my part, we ended up with a handful of roots. I cleaned and boiled the roots that very afternoon. The tea was quite tasty. But now, I have no idea what it’s good for.

Many feel Dr. Oz’s word is gospel SO I’ve tried to purchase every pill, vitamin, and herb. I had to move the contents of one kitchen cupboard out to the counter to make room for all my vitamins ranging from A-Z. I’ve added a number of spices and herbs to my collection, including curry, fennel, sesame, and turmeric.

My husband says after I take all this stuff, I’ll either be bionic or dead. I’m not sure which he’s rooting for. (Though it does seem he isn’t with me on this.)

Dr. Oz and I were clipping along and getting to know each other and then I discovered he was getting into my, well, into my purse. More specifically, my wallet.

All his “suggestions” were costing me a pretty penny. Many pretty pennies, actually. Along with some not so bad looking dollars.
I knew I had to put a stop to our relationship and I was dreading it.
However, I learned today its cold turkey for me and Dr. Oz.
Our satellite went out and will be out for a few days.
So,I guess it’s back to CD’s. Yoga, Rodney Yee, and Me.
Anyone want to join me?