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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Written by:
Wendi Friend

When reading “how to” books regarding writing and studying through Internet resources, I found that nearly everyone offering advice to writers suggested joining writing workshops and support groups. This thought was terrifying for me. I made reasons and excuses for more than a year as to why I could not join such a workshop. I didn’t have enough experience. I didn’t spell well enough. I was too nervous to actually get that close to other writers where I’d be communicating with them instead of just reading words written by them. I was scared. Then, there came the concern of cost and time as well as genre, etc. Nope, I would not be taking such advice. I would not be joining any writing workshops.

Though I had already made up my mind not to join such workshops, I found myself researching available courses and avenues to find out exactly what it was I was missing. What I found, for the most part, was what I had suspected. I tried joining a few chat rooms for writers, but always left those conversations with an overwhelming sense of failure and set back. I didn’t feel as though I was being listened to or communicated with, but that I was being talked down to and had trouble keeping up with some of the conversations taking place. The workshops that did catch my interest for educational purposes, were only two or three weeks in length, which would suit my schedule – but were anywhere from $25-$250 dollars per workshop, which did not fit into my budget. In addition, I felt that two or three weeks was not enough time to get the amount of results I was searching for. I wasn’t in a hurry, I was just seeking knowledge and a path to walk on.

One day in my surfing, searching efforts, I came across a site by the name of Wordweave. Wordweave was a salvation to me because while it did offer workshops and courses, it also offered inspirational activities which I learned to rely on often to get past writer’s block or lack of creative thoughts. Exploring the different sections of Wordweave, I did come across one workshop for writers that caught my attention for several reasons. First, it was an entire year long, not two weeks. Second, it was spiritually explorative, which meant that I could incorporate my writing needs with my personal needs. I could grow in more than one way via that vehicle. Third, there was absolutely no cost involved in joining or participating in the workshop I came to know as Inspirare. Finally, there was no conforming or being forced to do things according to strict guidelines. Choices were made available as to whether or not those interested would join a core group, small group of eight or nine writers; or if they’d prefer to work alone through the Inspirare Updates and Inspirare Home Page. I chose the core group because I was ready, at that point, to make the commitment and meet with other writers and professionals who may be able to assist me on the journey.

Joining the Inspirare Project was quite possibly one of the smartest decisions I’ve made in my writing career. Not only was the material stimulating and challenging, but the women I was placed with in my group were able to make differences in my life which will remain as life long gratitude and respect. These team mates of mine were able to hold me up when I felt I was falling, were able to comfort me when I felt depressed and were able to inspire me when I felt at a complete loss for words. A mystic connection was formed within the invisible walls of our Internet workroom and many benefits arose from my involvement with that project, such as doors opening to other writing related professional projects. The articles and assignments within the Inspirare Project stimulate a certain type of thought process, individual results were as diverse as those of us working on the project together. Certain behavioral patterns of mine began to change, my writing mind became more liberal, more free, more creative.

Sadly, the Inspirare Project is no longer accepting new members, though articles, exercises and copies of what the Inspirare Questers have written are available at the Inspirare Home Page. Inspired2Write is another useful resource for aspiring writers, offering workshops, courses, writing coaches, critique and editorial services, created and managed by the same creative mentor responsible for Wordweave and Inspirare, Susan Letham.

While writing workshops may seem intimidating to the beginner, the seasoned writer will recognize writing workshops as an invaluable resource for keeping creative juices flowing and establishing a network of professional and personal companions to offer insight and inspiration along the journey of becoming a writer.

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“The most enviable writers are those who, quite often un-analytically and unconsciously, have realized that there are different facets to their nature and are able to live and work with now one, now another, in the ascendant.”    ~Dorthea Brande~

“Writing the Journey”
Written by:
Wendi Friend

I began writing at a very young age. By the age of six, I was playing with the ideas of characters and plots. By age nine, I was writing poetry. By age fourteen, I was writing speeches. By age eighteen, I was writing picture books for children. By age twenty, I was writing inspiring articles. By age twenty five, I was writing a novel. By age twenty seven, I earned my first paycheck for written material. By age twenty eight, I became an editor. At each phase, I thought I had found my writing voice. At each phase, I thought I had found my genre, my niche, my final destination. Nearing the age of twenty nine, I realized that my writing voice has a life of its own, and as with anything, it grows, changes, progresses, expands, and transforms.

When I was writing as a child, I had dreams of an established career as a well known author. Those dreams carried me through many misfortunes and over many obstacles. Were it not for that dream, onto which I was holding, I might well have let go of life long ago. However, I did have that dream to hold on to. With it in clear vision, I climbed and I struggled ’til at last I would see my name in print. Before that glorious day would arrive bearing my name on a published piece of material, I’d receive hundreds upon hundreds of rejection letters.

Tenacity was the key, I believed, so I withstood the pressures of rejection in the search for fame and fortune. While the bylines came, and a few checks accompanied them, the dream was far from accurate in financial regard and fame. However, the timing of my realization of that fact was perfect in that I had already realized that it is not for money and fame that I write.

I write because when I move my hand across the page, I learn. When I put my anger or sorrow on paper, I let go of the weight of those burdens. When I allow my creativity to flourish, there is no room for darkness or depression.

I’ve learned, also, that my writing styles change in the course of time. During one phase, I’ll write nothing but philosophical thoughts. Other times, I write poetry. When creativity is drained, I write research articles. I have learned that where one facet of my writing needs rest, another facet is waking and ready for exercise. Now, I do not confine myself to one genre, or niche, but I write what wants to be written, when it wants to be written, trusting that inspiration knows all too well how to lead the way and light the journey.

When people learn that I’m a writer, they ask the same questions. What do you write? And Why? I answer by saying that there’s nothing I don’t write, and I write because I can’t not. Whether or not I’m paid, I’ll write. Whether or not I’m published, I’ll write. Whether or not my words are read by others, I’ll write. Writing is the best way I have found to communicate honestly and openly with myself.

Of course, I’m still paving the road to a career as a writer, because I believe that we should only engage in occupations that we enjoy – but I’m doing it my own way. The meaning of being a writer has changed for me over the years. My writing voice has changed with time. My expectations of writing have changed with experience. Now, I understand that the gift of writing is a multi-faceted gift… a gift not meant to be leashed or caged, but allowed to soar freely when inspiration strikes.

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Intro:  What was I thinking?  I have no excuse for the poor writing presented here, other than the fact that I was a young novice and tinkering with varying writing styles.  I had developed a certain pattern in my poetry up to this point… four stanzas, every other line rhyming.  I’d read a book on writing that suggested identifying such patterns, and then trying to break the boundaries and write something in a different pattern (try it… you’ll like it!).  I had the right idea, but admitedly, didn’t pull it off with much finesse.  But, I promised myself when I created this blog that I’d include all the pieces and parts of me – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and this shows the developmental phases I went through as a writer, and as a mother, so I’m keeping it. As a sidenote, no, I had never seen Spiderman and wasn’t aware that my peanut pickin’ pal shared Spiderman’s alter-ego name. *grins*

“Hillary Penelope Plicket Plum”
Written by:
Wendi Friend

Hillary Penelope Plicket Plum,
Shorter than most, but taller than some,
Set out for a day of gardening fun.

With a heart of gold and curls to match,
She skipped down the way to the strawberry patch
And pulled the chain on the gate to unhook the latch,

That unlocks the magic that her garden keeps.
In the bushels of berries that smell so sweet,
She frolics and plays with no shoes upon her feet.

She hums a little tune, “La da da, de de dum”,
Sings Hillary Penelope Plicket Plum,
A very kind, compassionate one.

She tends to her garden come rain or shine.
Through the cold of winter and the heat of summertime,
She cares for her garden without a whimper or a whine.

She does it all – remembering just one thing:
She’ll have sweet, fat berries in the magic of spring.
Then she’ll have strawberry flavored everything!

Like strawberry shortcake and strawberry jam,
‘cause she tended to her garden with her very own hands,
Following through with her special plan.

With ingredients gathered and strawberries grown,
Hillary Penelope Plicket Plum skipped home
And bumped into a boy with a basket of his own!

He was a tall, thin boy with soft, brown hair.
Hillary looked at his basket and asked, “Whatchya got in there?”
“Peanuts,” said the boy, “why do you care?”

“Whatchya gonna do with ‘em?” She asked one question after another.
“If you must know,” replied the boy, “I’m making peanut butter.”
An idea whipped through her mind with a flicker and a flutter!

Hillary looked up at the by and asked, “Hey, there, what’s your name?”
“Peter Parker,” said the boy, “peanut butter is my game.”
“Hillary Penelope Plicket Plum is my name.

“I’ve got an idea for you to contemplate.
It’ll only work if we cooperate.
I’ve got a feeling it’ll work out great!”

As the two skipped home, Hillary shared her plan
With the boy with the basket full of peanuts in his hand,
And he took a liking to Miss Plicket Plum’s plan.

Her plan worked just fine, without one hitch,
And they shared a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

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Intro: This story, as with many of my early writings, was inspired by and written for my first-born son, Andrew.  Written somewhere between 1990-1991, this story was created to aid my young child with his suddenly active and sometimes frightening imagination and was designed to teach him to use the powers of his own mind to overcome the fears he faced. Although I was proud as punch of this piece when I first created it, it retrospect, I can see where it’s seriously lacking in both writing style and concept. Nonetheless, it is what it is and I’m proud to store it in my archives. Knowing what I know now, I can’t help but wonder if the boy was actually seeing dragons! *smirks*

“Drew and his Dinosaur”
Written by:
Wendi Friend
~ For Andrew ~

Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Drew.
He had an active imagination, as many three-year-olds do.
Something seemed to be bothering him
As he was eating breakfast one day;
He stopped chewing his bacon long enough to say,
“I saw a dinosaur, Mommy! It was big and blue!”
“You have an active imagination”, the mommy said to Drew.
When he finished eating breakfast, he put his plate into the sink
And said, “Mommy, guess what I saw! It was a dinosaur… big and pink!
It chased me and it grabbed me!” exclaimed a frightened little Drew.
“But, Sweetheart,” said the mom, “I thought the dinosaur was blue!”
“Mommy, guess what I saw!” An excited Drew did say.
“I saw a dinosaur; it was big and grey!”
“That’s just your imagination,” explained Drew’s mom,
“And in a day or two, the dinosaurs will be gone.
These dinosaurs aren’t real; you’ve created them with your mind –
So use your mind to make something different –
Something special, something kind.
Try to imagine something else…
Something a little more pleasant.
Imagine that the dinosaurs are giving you a present!”
Drew then imagined that the dinosaurs were his friends.
They lived happily ever after…
The end.

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Intro: This was the first story I’d ever written for children, and it was written for my first-born son, Andrew. Written somewhere around 1990-91, my son was about two-years-old and I was trying to teach him the concept of puting his toys away when he was finished playing with them, to put his dirty clothes in the hamper, to not toss things on the floor, and to generally pick up after himself. My son spoke often of monsters, which is why I created the Mess Monster, thinking it a character he’d relate to easily. Andrew is now 19 years old and has maintained cleanliness and personal hygiene, almost obsessively, throughout his lifetime.

“Rodney and the Mess Monster”
Written by:
Wendi Friend
~ For Andrew ~

Rodney was a little boy who hated to clean his room.
He claimed he simply didn’t have time;
He had better things to do.
So, his mom just left everything in a pile,
Hoping he’d get tired of the mess after ‘while;
But, Rodney didn’t seem to care,
He just left his stuff layin’ everywhere!
He’d come home from school and kick off his shoes,
One of which, he was sure to lose!
His jacket went here, his books – everywhere.
Before long, he got lost in there!
He woke up one morning and opened his eyes
Only to find a horrid surprise!
He was trapped in his room, couldn’t find the door;
He couldn’t get out of bed because he couldn’t find the floor!
He cried for his mommy, his daddy, too.
Rodney was helpless, didn’t know what to do.
Suddenly, he heard an awful sound;
A monster was coming out of the ground!
Rodney was scared and yelled, “Leave me alone!
Go back where you came from. Go on, go home!”
The monster growled, showing his teeth,
“This is my home. You created me!
I’m the mess monster and I love girls and boys
Who won’t pick up their books or their toys –
Because they don’t have time, they have better things to do;
So I’ll just live here forever with you!”
“No!” Rodney hollered, “Go away!”
And his room has been clean since that very day.
To keep the mess monster from moving in with you,
Maybe – just maybe – you should clean your room, too!

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Written by:
Wendi Friend

Most of us won’t deny the power of words – especially those of us who rely on them as tools of our trade. We, as a race, regardless of the language we speak, depend on words to get us through each day. We read words on menus when we order food in restaurants; we rely on words to direct us in traffic. Words are used to comfort children as we sing them a lullaby or tuck them in at night with a bed time story. We depend on words to communicate with each other, and with our own thoughts. Yet, for as much as we recognize and rely upon our need for words, rarely do we value their true power. Words are power! Words… are magick!

In the book *The Four Agreements, author Miguel Ruiz refers to words as white magic and black magic, explaining that every single word we think or speak becomes a spell. That spell then attaches itself to you, the one to whom you’re speaking, or your environment, where it will remain until a more powerful word spell breaks it. Everything you say has power and influence over everything that is. If you tell someone they’re ugly, if they choose to accept the spell, they’ll go home believing they’re ugly. On the same token, if someone has always felt they were ugly and you tell them of their beauty, the attitude that person has from that point forward toward themselves and their environment will be uplifted!

Years ago, I used to go to a highly recommended hair dresser for hair cut and color. Truthfully, I didn’t care for what she did with my hair – but for some reason, I could not break myself away from her. I’d always book a follow up appointment and never cancel or go to anyone else. I didn’t realize, at first, why I felt so drawn to her. After a few more visits with open mind, I found the spell. No matter when I went to see her, she always had something uplifting and positive to say to me. Whether her comments were on my clothes, the color of my skin, my smile, my career, or how well behaved my children were, she always had kind words to share that left me feeling better when I left than I did when I arrived. This was her magic. What she did for my hair didn’t mean nearly as much as what she did for my spirit.

Over the years, I’ve belonged to several writing groups online. In these groups, it is customary to critique and be critiqued. In this practice, I’ve noticed three types of people. There are those who post quite critically, pointing out every flaw in the writing. There are those who reply with a one sentence comment void of true communication (the safe way), and then there are those who are able to bring to light the positive qualities in the writing while gently pointing out room for improvement. Only one of these methods provokes a positive reaction, and that’s the method of carefully chosen encouraging words.

Most of us are familiar with the concept of positive affirmations. To tell yourself something bad is to insure you’ll feel bad, but to remind yourself of the good helps promote the good within. To say you can’t do something will insure that you will continue to not be able to do it. Yet, to say, “I’m having trouble doing something” leaves you an opening for growth and improvement. To say you’ll never make it at something will prove you right, but to say you’re finding it difficult to do will present you opportunity to advance. How many words do you use on a daily basis that hurt yourself or someone else? What kind of words are you using to shape your experiences in life? How many words that you choose to think or use are borne of kind intent or compassionate spirit toward yourself or others? Which of your words are obstacles and which of your words are keys to freedom?

Play a game with words. For 24 hours, be extremely conscious and aware of every word you think or speak. If you can, keep score. If your words are painful, or if they serve as obstacles, mark them on the left side of your paper. If your words are positive and create openings for bettering yourself, encouraging others, or freeing a path, then mark them on the right side of your paper. At the end of the day, tally up the score and measure your contributions to your own circumstance and the pain or pleasures of others. Call this game, “Mark My Words.”

At the same time you play the game, you may choose to play another game that we’ll call, “Eat Your Words.” While you’re measuring up your own use of words, take count of the types of words pointed at you by others. You may be surprised at some of the forms of white and black word magic casting spells on you every time you engage in conversation. If you like what’s being said, if what’s being said is a benefit to you, accept those words as true. However, if you find the spells being cast are harmful, then envision yourself replying with, “Eat your words!” This sends the power of the spell back to the sender, not into your soul.

One period of 24 hours with awareness of words and you may be surprised to discover the types of games people play – and sadly, never even know they’re playing!

*Reference
Book Title: The Four Agreements
Author: Miguel Ruiz
ISBN: 1878424319
Format: Paperback, 138pp
Pub. Date: November 1997
Publisher: Amber-Allen Publishing

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Intro: April – July 2007 was a major time of transformation for me. I was being faced with many obstacles and challenges, unsure of how I’d measure up in the long run.  I had lost my identity and was in the process of re-inventing myself.  This writing is one that guided me through that painful period of self discovery.

“The Food Chain”
Written by:
Wendi Friend
April 16, 2007

Nothing’s wrong
Yet nothing’s right
Kentucky Sunday
Becomes Kentucky night

Where tree frogs croak
And coyotes howl
Where the owls hoot
And the critters prowl

Predator, Prey
Who are they
And where am I
— in the food chain

It’s a matter of survival
The will to live
The need to love
The desire to give

Kentucky Sunday
Smartly retires
Leaving untouched
The heart’s desires

The hawks finally rest
In their heavenly nests
Asking where am I
— in the food chain

The cows chewed their cud
And the horses had their hay
And the donkeys grazed
On this Kentucky Sunday

The turkey-vultures scavenged
The birds found their seeds
The squirrels gathered nuts
While others die from needs

Night breezes blow
The moon has lost her glow
And where am I
— on the food chain

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Don’t

Intro:  The periods between April and July 2007 were prolific periods for me because I wrote my way through my trials and tribulations.  The writing was therapy, it was how I found my strength.  This is one of the pieces that led to the final outcome of divorce.

“Don’t”
Written by:
Wendi Friend
June 16, 2007

Don’t ask me to pretend
that I’m something
I never was
or never could be

Don’t ask me to forget
those things
you refuse
to remember

Don’t ask me to paint
a picture perfect scenerio
of blended beauty
while you strip away
the colors of me
with chaos.

Don’t ask me to step
another step on this path
(of hot coals and cold hearts)
or into an embrace
that is a death grip

I won’t slip
quietly into
the coffin

Don’t ask me to believe
in empty promises
and false hopes
and broken dreams

Because I won’t.

Just Don’t.

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Still

Intro: This is another piece inspired by a game called Poetry Tag. A fellow blogger initiated the game on her blog, and here’s how it worked. She wrote a short poem, and at the end, she included a set of “keywords”. The next author would come along and was challenged to write a short poem containing those keywords. Once they’d posted their completed challenge, that author would then include a new set of “keywords” for the next author to use. The poems didn’t have to be related in any way, and they could be written in any style or form, as long as they included the set of keywords provided by the previous author. It was a fun game and a brilliant writing exercise. For this piece, I was challenged to use the keywords “seashell in the forest”. Obviously, I wasn’t in a very good mindset when I wrote this, but I’m more than pleased with the end result.

“Still”
Written by:
Wendi Friend
2007

She knew all was
as it should be –
the walls were

still

in tact

– up was still up
and down was
still down and sideways was

still

so fucking familiar.

The sky was still blue
and the water was
still wet – the soil smelled

still

like perfume after the rain

The dogs still barked
and the cat…
still flipped its tail
in that “I’m too good”

notion it always has

Coffee was still hot
– until she let it get cold
and the reflection was still hers
although tattered and old

and even that seemed appropriate.

Everything
was as it should be
or as it had been
she was standing

still

on the spot
her own legs
had taken her
and yet she felt

displaced

like a seashell
in the forest

How did it come
to this?

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Spun

Intro: This is another one with a fun history.  I was involved in an online community, bloggers, of course – and one blogger had the fantastic idea of playing a game she called Poetry Tag.  She first posted a short poem, and then provided “keywords” that the next author would use.  The second author would write their own short piece, including the “keywords” provided from the previous author, and at the end would include a new set of “keywords” for the next author to use.  None of the poetry had to be connected – it wasn’t like an ongoing story… each poem was unique and could be written in any style or form and on any subject, as long as it included the keywords.  In this particular piece, the keywords I was challenged to use were “spun gold”, and this is what was born from that… It was a fantastic writing game, and one I may eventually include here at this blog.

“Spun”
Written by:
Wendi Friend
2007

There she sits, stitching seams
of broken promises and shattered dreams
Turning the fragments into a whole
by quilting together the shards of her soul

Needling away at life’s discarded scraps
Hope still exists for her, perhaps
For in her fragments a story is told,
words woven well from pain’s spun gold.

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