No More Excuses For Writer’s Block

If you’re friends with me on Facebook–and if you’re not, then come say hello!–you’ve already seen all the pictures I posted of Tiny Doors around Atlanta:

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I am in love with Tiny Doors! The Beneficent Mr. Hall? Not so much. So when Juniorette Hall offered to take me on a Tiny Door adventure, I was thrilled! (So was she. I mean, Tiny Doors and me? More fun than a barrel of monkeys!):

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Anyway, it wasn’t long before I started my newest WIP. And if you want to know about my “research” + idea = WIP win, take a look over at the Muffin today where I expound upon “The Best Excuse For Doing What You Love.”

And P.S. I also love those popsicles from King of Pops. D’oh. Now all I can think about is eating one of those popsicles! Wonder what Juniorette Hall is doing today?

Summer Love

School’s out for SUMMER!

Oh, my goodness, y’all. I don’t have any Junior Halls in school anymore, and Lord knows, it’s been forever since I was in school, but I still get a thrill when school’s out for summer.

When I was kid, summer was vacation and the beach and swimming and hot dogs. But mostly, summer was reading whatever I wanted to read.

All school year long, I had homework and sports and homework and chores and homework and book reports. I hated writing book reports. Mostly because we’d have to choose a book from this list of biographies, or a book from this list of historical fiction, or a book from this list of states or…well, you get the picture. It’s a wonder that school didn’t ruin reading for me.

Summer saved me. Or more accurately, the public library saved me. My mom would drive me to the big public library on Bull Street in Savannah and let me choose whatever books my little heart desired.

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Thus began my love affair with the public library. Sad to say, I wasn’t true to my first love on Bull Street. As the years passed, I’ve fallen for many a public library, in cities all over Georgia. And now that I’m a writer, I’m seeing my true love in a whole new light. I mean, I thought I knew all my present library’s secrets, but I was wrong. And if you want to know why, check out “The Best-Kept Writer’s Secret” over at the Muffin. It’s one summer love I don’t mind sharing!

A Treasure (Or Two) at Tybee

Mom and Dad weddingSo I spent yet another week cleaning up at my parents’ house at the beach, and oh my goodness, what treasures I found! Not like a Picasso in the bottom of a dirty, rag-filled box, but treasures just the same.

I emptied the drawers in my mother’s secretary and found a trove of college memorabilia. Mom often spoke about her Vanderbilt days but she’d graduated from a junior college in Savannah before Vanderbilt. I found her yearbooks–she’d been the editor of her college newspaper (The editor? Did I know this? Did she like to write as much as I do?), the president of a foreign relations club (What? Are we talking about my mom? The woman who’d run if someone came to the door?) and one of the outstanding students of her class–and I found her graduation program, too. She’d been the valedictorian.

The valedictorian, too?! All I can say is, you think you know someone. (Though to be honest, we always knew Mom was smart. Dad always said he married the smartest girl in Savannah. But to be perfectly honest, we thought Dad was exaggerating. Apparently, we thought wrong.) It was awfully nice to come across these treasures about Mom after all these years. (And maybe I should follow the writing advice she threw out there, back in the day when I thought I knew better than she did. Sheesh, is my face red.)

And then I came across something my dad had typed–and saved for all these years. I was stunned when I read the writing on the outside of the yellowed page in my Dad’s beautiful script, “William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech.”

Not because my dad wouldn’t know Faulkner. My dad was a physicist, chemist, and college professor but he read a couple books a week for as long as I can remember. Still, he read mysteries, thrillers…he wasn’t exactly literary.  Or philosophical.

But maybe I was wrong about him, too. Here is the section of the speech he meticulously copied:

I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking.

I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

I’d never read William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize speech (It’s very short and you can read it in its entirety here.) and I have to say, I just about choked up when I came to that part about the writer’s duty: It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past.

I wish I could talk to Dad about this treasure. But even so, I’m glad he found a way to share it with me. And of course, typical of Dad, teach me one last lesson.

I Won A Wonderful Book!

An exciting day here in Cathy C. Hall World ’cause I won a book!

I tore into the envelope and then I…well, I just stopped in mid-rip because the book is so gorgeous.

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And I wanted to tear into the book right then and there but I stopped again because…well, it’s Irene Latham and her wonderful poetry and that’s something that one doesn’t tear into. One pauses and finds a nice spot–say, the sunny deck outside the kitchen–and then one sits and drinks in the poetry.

Ahhhh. And then one reads the interesting facts about Antarctica and feels snobbishly superior to all those folks who think they know Antarctica. Finally, one sighs and goes back to the beginning to read again. (One might even sit there pondering when one’s kidders will have kidders so that one can read wonderful books of poetry to said kidders…)

Anyway, if you have kidders or grandkidders, treat yourself to When the Sun Shines on Antarctica by Irene Latham. ‘Course, my book is extra special because I won it!

I almost don’t want to tell you how I won it because then maybe you’ll win the next book that I want, but Sheila’s so generous…so, okay. Get yourself over to Sheila Renfro’s blog where she gives away at least one wonderful book a month. You’ll find picture books, middle grade books, writing books…well, just a bounty of books! All you have to do to win is…

Hmmmm. I think you’ll just have to zip over and find out for yourself. I mean, I don’t want to make it too easy for you. After all, I’ve got my fingers crossed for this month’s book!

 

The Exciting Job of Writer!

DSC03525-BSo I went to the bank last week and it’s a good thing I did or I wouldn’t have anything to say at the Muffin.

Mostly, I talked about “What Successful Writers Do (Besides Writing)” and if you want to know more about those money-making ventures, then off you go!

For those of you not interested in money-making ventures (or improving your writing skills), then stick around for a little writer philosophizing. Because it happened again. At the bank, I mean. When the guy helping me order checks found out I was a writer, he literally stopped typing and looked up. Suddenly, I wasn’t a boring, middle-aged woman. I was a writer!

Why do you suppose people find writers so exciting? What is it about this profession that’s so interesting to the non-writing world? I would say it’s an arts thing–my daughter would get the same reaction when she was a dancer–but when people find out I once worked in radio, you can see the gears shift, too. So clearly, there are certain professions that appear more exotic than others.

I get lion-tamer or glass-blower or even fireman. Those are some mighty interesting jobs; then again, there’s an element of danger there. But writer? The only danger I’m in is my checking account dipping below the amount needed to keep from paying a monthly maintenance fee.

Actually, I can see how working in radio would seem exciting, too. It was fun even if I wasn’t making much money. (And by “much money”, I mean “hardly enough money to make ends meet.”) There are lots of jobs like radio that seem exciting–professional baseball player, wine taster, paranormal investigator–but really, the excitement comes in short bursts. The rest of the time, it’s just same-old, same-old boring job.

But writer? It’s an exciting burst to get a contract or sign with an agent or even see your byline out there in the world. But I don’t see John Q. Public getting all worked up over that kind of excitement. So I’m asking you, dear writer readers. What do you think it is about the profession of writing that would make a millennial look up from his desk and start a twenty minute conversation with a woman in glasses, sporting a couple age spots?

Because it seems to me that someone in such an exciting job should be making way more money. If only I could figure out why.