I’d pick beach stones over diamonds any day. Diamonds are obvious and flashy, beautiful in a cold and untouchable way, but the stones nestled in the sand? They feel incredible in your hand, smooth and touchable. Diamonds may be unbreakable, but beach stones? They’re adaptable. Caught between powerful waves and abrasive sand, they grow smoother and more consistent. Diamonds catch the light and make it fly, but when you reach through the lapping water and pick up a stone, it literally glows in your hand. Then the breeze starts to dry the stone, and you watch the colours fade until there is only pale texture against your skin. Diamonds demand the admiration of everyone, but the beauty of a stone nestled in the sand and half-hidden by the water can only be enjoyed by those who are willing to search. True beauty is like that, I think. Born in humility, polished by difficult circumstances, and all around us – if you’ll only look.
Opening Lines June 2, 2011
Opening lines are to fiction what chocolate chips are to cookies – you’ve gotta have ’em. There’s a lot of good ones out there, but the truly great opening lines have three things in common:
- They plant the reader’s feet on the story’s ground by providing an initial sense of place, time, and character.
- They tease the imagination by providing just enough hints or clues to the plot of the story to make the reader ask questions.
- They establish the tone of the story – humorous, dark, sarcastic, narrative, etc.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” – Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice
“‘Live life balls out,’ Katie Kramer told herself every night, and even though she didn’t own a pair, she hoped the mantra would keep the nightmares away. It never did.” – Jill Shalvis, Instant Attraction
“I have to. I’ve been fighting it all night long. I’m going to lose. My battle is as futile as a woman feeling the first pangs of labour and deciding it’s an inconvenient time to give birth. Nature wins out. It always does.” – Kelley Armstrong, Bitten
“I stiffened at the red and blue lights flashing behind me, because there was no way I could explain what I had in the back of my truck.” – Jeanine Frost, Halfway to the Grave
“Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.” – Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
“Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy.” Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree
Regardless of length or genre, the opening line of a story is a powerful tool, both for writers trying to captivate readers, and for readers trying to choose their next story. Skip the blurb on the back, and check out the opening line instead – it should make you want another cookie.
Do you have a favourite opening line from a book, story or movie? I’d love to hear it…
Balancing On One Foot May 16, 2011
i’m at the crossroads,
with multiple paths open before me
all of them twisting with detours
and alternate routes due to construction
my hands are full of questions
and the weight of my limitations tug at me
until i’m wavering precariously on one foot,
trembling and shaking
trying to balance of all the possibilities
and i know that soon something will change
the question is
will my foot fall on a path of my choosing
will the weight of it all propel me
somewhere i never expected to go
and in the end
will it really matter how the choice is made?
Just Another Day April 13, 2011
1 cup of coffee
2 lunches packed
2 children taken to school
2 others brought back
1 more cup of coffee (ok, I’ll admit to 2)
1,980 words written
2 block towers built and kicked
3 sinks of dishes washed
1 handful of bubbles hurled
3 meals made and shared
1,560 stitches knit
8 little snacks prepared
2 loads of laundry processed
5 chapters of a favorite book
1 child taken to ER
1 prescription filled
1 of 30 doses given
1 blog post shared
Just another day in an ordinary life.
A little bit crazy, and a little bit fun.
A little bit excitement, and a little bit dull.
A little bit of wonder, a little bit of fear.
Just another day. Just another year…
Wordplay April 3, 2011
The woman stared at her computer.
The exhausted mother stared wearily at her computer screen.
The exhausted mother stared with dagger-like intensity at the glowing screen of her computer.
She tried to think of something to write about.
She struggled to find anything interesting to write.
She wrestled futilely with her muse, but inspiration hovered just beyond her grasp.
This, she thought, was the hardest part of writing.
Keeping things simple, she thought, was the part of writing she struggled with the most.
Propping her head on her hands, she stared at what she’d typed and realized – not for the first time – that finding the balance between adding enough detail to bring a piece to life but not so much as to suffocate it was really, freaking hard.
Making Time: A Pep Talk In Pictures March 30, 2011
Some days, I feel like this:
Other days, I feel like this:
What makes the difference?
What lights you up inside?
Find out, and make it happen every day, even if only for a minute or two.
Trust me, it’s not being selfish. It’s being smart. Charge your light, and let it shine…
because everyone in your world will feel it if you don’t. 😉
Antidote March 23, 2011
Knitting is the antidote to a world that is always changing and too often hostile.
It’s a simple act that provides you with multiple choices to which there are no wrong answers – wool or silk, cotton or linen, solid color or a variegated rainbow? The options are initially overwhelming, but you soon learn to revel in them, to embrace this opportunity to answer to only yourself.
Knitting also helps you understand that you have the power to effect change. Maybe the pattern you’re following has long sleeves but you want them to be three-quarter length, or perhaps you need a few extra inches of length in the body to avoid a chilly midriff. As you knit, you learn to analyze what you need and want, and develop strategies for tweaking and reworking a pattern until it’s exactly right for you.
Finally, knitting gives you control. When stock markets crash and your in-laws gripe and your children proudly reveal a permanently autographed sofa, you can pick up your knitting and wield utter and complete control over that one small part of your world.
Knitting reminds you of the power you have to make your own choices, work towards your goals, and take pleasure in the results, no matter what the world throws at you.