The Rambling Blogger

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ll be switching to my new blog home next week. I’ve picked out a very summery looking header I hope you’ll like. I’ve also wondered how it would work to put some order into my blog-keeping. Maybe having a plan will keep the juices flowing.
So far I’m thinking:
Tuesday something historical
Wednesday I’ll post a poem
Thursday a fiction story
Saturday I’ll write about an interesting book or blog post I’ve read

To start my new habit, I’d like to tell you about a post I read yesterday over at Another Purple Planet. This blogger is turning thirty and sharing with us a list of the important truths she’s learned up until now. I told her in a comment that I’m more than thirty years older and can’t add much to her list. (So why is it that we human beings who consider ourselves so intelligent, spend years learning the same lessons over and over?)

Click here to read her article and see if you can add anything.

A heads-up for readers of this blog:
You won’t have to do anything. Subscribers will be moved as well as the domain, christinegoodnough.com. This current site will revert back to the pre-domain address of christinegoodnough.wordpress.com, so if you want to check out some post in these archives you’ll need to type in that address. Christine Composes will go back to christineevelynvance.wordpress.com.

Hope you’re all having a great weekend!

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Talents & Frustrations

Today is my dear husband’s 75th birthday. Quite a milestone! We celebrated officially last Sunday night after a church function, and are looking forward to a dinner out with the family tomorrow. Of course he blogs about it on his site, mentioning all the things that have changed since he was a boy.

What really scares me is the thought that the next twenty years will go by just as fast as the last twenty. Whatever happened to “old age, when the hours would drag by”? We find the flight of time incredible!

I can assure you that in his youth Bob was a studious lad just like the young fellow below. I don’t know if there was ever a “Willy Brown” in his school to be jealous of, though. Hope this poem gives you a smile.

FRUSTRATION

My teacher says that I’m the best
And smartest boy in school;
I’m never careless like the rest;
I never break a rule.
If visitors should come to call,
She has me speak a piece,
Or tell what makes an apple fall
Or binds the coast of Greece.
You might expect that since my brain
Holds such an awful lot,
I’d be extremely proud and vain;
But, oh–I’m not.
For Willy Brown’s a cleverer lad
Than I could hope to be;
Why, I’d give anything I had
To be as smart as he!
He can’t recite, “Hark, Hark, the Lark,”
He’s not the teacher’s pet;
He never gets a perfect mark
In ‘rithmetic — and yet,
Could I be he, I’d waste no tears
On foolish things like sums;
For Willy Brown can wag his ears
And dislocate his thumbs.

Author’s name unknown to me.

Important to Know

Lotte Lehmann became a famous opera singer just before WWI and performed a total of 93 roles in her career. She retired from the opera in 1951 and became a music teacher for over twenty years.

One day she was visiting with an up-and-coming young soprano who remarked sympathetically that “It must be terrible for a great singer like you to realize you’ve lost your voice.”

“Not at all,” the older lady replied. “It would be terrible indeed if I didn’t realize it.”

Taking a Break

Hi Everyone,

I’ve posted a short fiction story on Christine Composes, in response to today’s Word Press prompt word: lovingly. You can read it here.

Waffling

When I first started blogging the thinking was to focus on one topic. Consequently I started several, each with a theme, and for the past few years I’ve been maintaining  separate blogs for fiction, poetry, haiku, and personal stuff.

This past year I’ve been working mainly with the two: the fiction blog, Christine Composes, and this one for everyday stuff, but my posts have gotten quite mixed  and I’m debating what I want to do in future. I see a lot of bloggers are posting whatever they feel like that day, be it fiction, poetry, personal, travel, or whatever. One blog is definitely simpler, but it’s a real mixed bag.

I’d welcome any opinions so if you have a thought, please leave a comment or email me at christinevanceg (at) gmail.com.

How FF and JJ Shortened My Patience

Reading Judy Dykstra-Brown’s post, Too Much Information, reminds me of an article I worked on yesterday, so I’ll post it as my response to today’s Word Press prompt word: overwhelming.

Overwhelmed by Adjectives

My mind registered a familiar ring tone and I reached for my navy faux-leather handbag, the one I’d bought with the gift certificate Mom gave me for the trendy new fashion store that just opened up three months ago at a nearby mall. I rummaged around, feeling my wallet, a few tissues, and several small spiral notebooks I carried for jotting down bits of poetry before I pulled out my shiny pink cell phone, now steadily tinkling out the tune to Fleur Elise, my favorite of all the tone options on this phone, hit the tiny green Talk button and said “Hello.”

The caller had hung up.

Would you? If this were the opening paragraph of your story, would you keep reading?

I started a book last week and soon discovered the writer is a lover of vividly descriptive adjectives. I had the feeling of walking on a wet beach where your feet sink into the sand at every step. In Chapter One the main character gathers her things, heads to work, and arrives there. Not what you’d call fast-paced, but her home and workplace were well described.

Some readers enjoy this type of descriptive writing and will find this story interesting. They are a market, albeit limited, some writers aim to please and that’s great. But like most readers, my attention span has become short. I like a bit of description, but then let’s get on with it. Give me a quick, smooth trip, no slogging through wet sand.

May Heaven Bless Good Editors

If you’re working on a novel and intending to publish it, do run it by a professional editor. And listen to their advice — even if it hurts.

The editorial cry of, “Cut, cut, cut!” can be painful. One tactful editor a century ago told a writer, “Your work is like a rare jewel. And like all jewels, it will sparkle all the more once it’s cut.”

Mark Twain once said, “When you see an adjective, kill it.” He admitted that adjectives do have their place, but cautions writers to use them sparingly.

For a travelogue descriptive adjectives are great, but do we care that, in the opening scene, Fleur Elise is this girl’s favorite among all the ring tones on this phone, or do we want to find out who’s calling and why?

Writer Charles Todd, in the Bess Crawford Mysteries series, has achieved what I’d call a perfect balance. While including descriptions of WWI battlefield scenes and the shattered bodies brought in for Bess and the doctors to patch up, the story line moves along quickly and holds a reader’s attention.

Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild

A few months back my husband signed up with the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild and I started following his articles entitled “How to become a ferocious self editor.” We get a demonstration of how Jerry would edit the first page of someone’s manuscript — and he does EDIT. Chop, chop, chop!

The story may start out with 200 words and end up with 50 when he’s done, but he explains each change. We hear that one adjective is usually enough. Instead of talking about the great big house, you say the great house or the big house. Better yet, eliminate both and say the cottage or the mansion. Instead of “The lonely lost lamb shook with cold and fear,” pick one good adjective and choose your verb well. “The forlorn lamb shivered.”

Friday Fictioneers: Putting It Into Practice

This is a group hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Every week she posts a photo as the group’s writing prompt and we’re to post a hundred-word story in response. I’ve been finding these a real challenge!

A hundred words means barest bones. Every superfluous word goes. Every line that can possibly be omitted is.

My opening paragraph contains 102 words, the entire allotment for a for Friday Fictioneers story. Action sum total: a female answers her phone. For an FF story I’d boil it down to:

I grabbed my ringing phone from my purse. “Hello.”
Mom’s voice sounded worried. “Sue, I can’t reach Patty. Have you seen her lately?”

Word count: 23. And go on from there. In the final edit I might even have to cut out the purse, though its mention tells readers she’s on her cell phone and not at home. This type of editing is terrific practice for writing tight, which is mainly the writing that sells these days.

As a reader, are you fond of description in your stories, or do you prefer the “cut to the chase” version?

Making A House A Home

LANDLORD AND TENANT

by Edgar Guest

The landlord wouldn’t paint the place
or keep it in repair,
yet at the window panes was lace,
though every board was bare
and those who passed it by could trace
the tenant’s tender care.

And those who passed it by could see
a blossoming plant or two.
Despite the tenant’s poverty
a little garden grew,
lovely and gay and orderly
the blazing summer through.

The landlord Life at times seems cold
and deaf to every plea,
yet to our dreams we still can hold;
courageous we can be
and round the place plant marigolds
for passers-by to see.

We, too, with faith, can plant a rose
where all is bleak and bare
and fashion pretty furbelows
for windows of despair,
and work, till our poor dwelling shows
a tenant’s tender care.

From his book, LIFE’S HIGHWAY
© 1933 by the Reilly & Lee Co.