When my son, Ian, turned five. I wrote him a poem on his birthday, which is on the 23rd of April. Yes, he is a musician and plays the violin among other instruments. I also have a version of this poem with the fiddle. Enjoy!
Ian the Pied Piper
by Pam Kesterson
One hot summer day not so long ago,
There was an intrusion in Lake Oswego.
One million mice came skipping in hops
In summer hats and little flip flops.
Nice as they were these mice were all pests,
They’d eat everyone’s food from their picnic baskets!
They’d scare little old women and young one’s alike,
Boys on their skateboards and some taking a hike.
These mice that one summer were causing a fuss.
People stopped walking, they’d ride on the bus.
They stopped enjoying the summer, lived indoors instead.
The mice ate everyone’s gardens; they were still being fed.
Till a small boy named Ian had a bright thought,
To gather all the towns’ cats, and they totaled a lot.
Ian started a boot camp for cats that were willing,
To fight for the town, without any killing.
Ian liked small animals; tiny mice were so cute.
So like a Pied Piper he got him a flute.
He made up a tune that only mice like,
He gathered the cats and hopped on his bike.
Down to the lake the cats and boy went.
With hammers and wood and even a tent.
For days, they made little mice boats with remote controls.
To send the rodents away was the only goal.
With all the work finished and time left for play,
They had a cat dance on that hot summer day.
Then with flute in hand, Ian started his mouse song,
To lure the mice shouldn’t take long.
As the mice started gathering the townspeople cheered.
The cats started the roundup; the departure was near!
The boats were all lined up and ready to go.
The mice were all coming, the fast and the slow.
The boats were all filled, and not a mouse left behind.
Ian started the engines, and the motors did wind.
In different directions all the mice boats went.
A new mice home, new adventures, is all that it meant.
The mice did adjust, or so the story goes.
Because to this day, as everyone knows,
There are mice still around, but fewer in number.
Thank goodness for that boy, whom the townspeople remember–
As I took a look at various ‘O’ words, I couldn’t land on just one. So I decided to highlight 10 of them and put my slant on how they relate to writing.
I’ll start with OCTOBER. I love this month because my birthday is on October 17th. Libra’s are known as needing balance in their life. They also tend to be a creative bunch. That aside, I agree with the balance theory, because fairness is important to me, and how I treat others and hope they return that favor of equality.
OCTOPUS, is a funny word, though demands respect by its size and stature alone. In the Puget Sound, in Washington State, USA, where I took my open water for my scuba diving certification, in cold and murky water, the largest Octopus in the world reside there. I wasn’t lucky enough to see one because of the low visibility on that day. But I could feel its presence as we swam next to the cave where the largest one lived. The plankton blooming made visibility only 3 feet at best. At 80 feet under, I was happy an Octopus, big or small, didn’t see me either. Like reading a good book, you never know what to expect.
OLFACTORY glands. Not being an Otolaryngologist, or Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT) doctor, or even in the medical profession, I found out about the olfactory glands while researching about Perfumers, and what making perfume entails. Have you ever walked into a tire store only to be bombarded with the repulsive rubber smell? Well, it only takes the olfactory glands four minutes before they adjust and blur out the scent. Here’s an excerpt on the olfactory glands from my book, Eternal Infinite:
“Few people fall into their category and are allowed their snobbish ways in a society that would instead chew them up and spit them out on the ground. But Cladimir Marcelo, one of those rare examples, existed without changing to fit into molds.
Cladimir walked down the hall of the hospital towards Saidi’s room, arrogant in his accumulated wisdom and rightfully so, being the acclaimed perfumer of the King. He had created thousands of scents, both for profit adventures and emotional endeavors. When the King desired a distinctive scent to be created—Cladimir created.
This fragrance creation is an odd request. The pulsing beat of urgency and the need to produce never failed him. The King specifically entreated him to create a perfume from the scent that emanated from this patient he had come to see. Now here to do a job, he’d use the smooth persuasion of his gift as always, even for this lady who lay in a coma. He chuckled. How good can she smell?
He gave a sharp laugh. Her beauty must sway the king. Body odors aren’t sweet while lying in a coma. Certainly not this sweet, cheerful, freshness the King so excitedly described. Then the King said, no demanded, that he somehow duplicate that scent. Because, as the King put it, ‘There would be a void in this world of ours if that smell does not come into existence.’
The King further insisted that Cladimir captured the extract from that short-lived vapor of scent one way or another. He simply would not take no for an answer. Cladimir knew the technique of making perfume. As the master, who had learned from his predecessors before him, he knew the soluble odors in actual essence if mixed with his aromatic spirits in alcohol could then transfer its odor to a vaporizable liquid. In truth, this method set the scent free, and he could come up with any given smell and he had duplicated thousands of scents.
Cladimir snorted. People don’t have perfume scents coming from their pores. But they have a musky smell. But the King didn’t describe musk. He frowned. I’ll have to set the king’s senses straight. Perhaps the king has taken on a bit of olfactory blindness lately. After all, some people are colorblind.
Notwithstanding, having been proven wrong only a couple of times in his career, or was that his life? He, Cladimir Marcelo didn’t want to walk into the room with an attitude, so he decided to drop any preconceived ideas. Nothing ventured; nothing gained. He entered the room completely blank, or so he tried.
Cladimir saw Doc. Nemo, whom he knew, in front of the coma patient’s room, “Hello Doctor Nemo,” he said in his foreign accent. Next, he rolled his eyes up to the physician. Indicating that the King had overstated this whole thing. “Let’s see what the big deal is.”
“Okay, after you Cladimir,” the doctor said, as they entered Saidi’s room.
Cladimir had never entered into such an odoriferous world. Never participated in a mesmerizing scent like this one. The smell engaged his nose and took over from there. Being more than surprised at this indescribable turmoil of scents that had never registered in his excellent nose memory—his endless library and detail of every scent, Cladimir beamed.
“Oh, this is admirable,” he vibrated as he tilted his head right then left. Indeed intense. This essence will make a fashionable perfume. It’s original, it’s sweet, has depth, yet it’s not in the least excessive. These were the odors that drifted towards him.
“We need to get to work,” Cladimir informed Doc. Nemo in a bossy tone, assuming the doctor’s excitement. So, with his handkerchief, he tried to catch Saidi’s scent from her body oils.
When the doctor realized his purpose, he said, “I have an idea. I’ll be right back.” A few minutes later he returned with a fan and said, “This might help.”
“It most certainly will help,” Cladimir said. He directed the doctor by pointing his delicate finger in the preferred place next to Saidi’s head. Then told him, “Please turn it towards her, right here, there that’s just perfect,” he voiced. Then he began to interpret some of the ingredients.
He had never smelled the whole of this bouquet, and only parts even registered imaginable in his exceptional OLFACTORY capabilities. He would continue to experiment with this delightful scent. He needed to capture more of her vaporous odors in a way he’d have to figure out soon—he’d prioritize this project—this woman is a gift from heaven.
“I am done for today,” Cladimir told the doctor abruptly. “I have to work on some things, and I’ll return,” as he turned to go. And when he would return he did not say.
OREGON. That’s where I live. It has green forests and a bounty of craft beer, and bikes everywhere with bike-friendly lanes and trails for running, hiking, and biking. Despite the rain, everyone wants to move here. For two years now, Oregon has been the top destination for people who moved out of state.
Since Oregon tops the list because of its thriving drink, food and culture scene, not to mention beautiful mountains, streams, and the Pacific Ocean, too many people are moving here, and we’re pretty much full. As a born Oregonian, I can say that. But we are a great place to visit. Stop on by and I’ll buy you a microbrew.
I like to eat GANIC food, preferred to pesticide sprayed fruits and vegetables. Though, with anything in life, you have to be flexible and know that certain fruits have built-in protectors and shells, like bananas. So if I can’t buy an organic banana, I feel okay about it, because the peel protects the inside part. I guess the only way this ties into writing is remain flexibility and do your research on the ten fruits and vegetable that should be organic. Know which ones are less dangerous so that you can make an educated decision on the necessity, and not be pressured by good marketing?
OUTCOME. I’m always the OPTIMIST. Oh, that makes my ‘O’ words an uneven
11. I know most things we go through in life end up with a good outcome. There’s usually a lot of needless worries. Oh, to be more laid back. Just like in our writing, let your positive attitude create a positive outcome. I feel free to write a story with a happy ending.
OUTLANDISH. My motto in writing is, the more outlandish, the better, as long as it’s believable that’s all that matters.
I don’t like anything predictable. But I do like characters and stories that overcome unprecedented obstacles.
OVERSIGHTS help to build tension. Though, nobody likes oversights, in fiction or real life. Oversights prove that many times people and situations are innocent in otherwise truly misunderstood actions. We should cover omissions (oversights) with plenty of grace. Oops.
And if this list seems OVERWHELMING it’s because there are a great amount of powerful ‘O’ words ‘out’ there. I had other ‘O’ words, including the big ‘O’, on this list, but this blog was getting too long, so I removed it and a few other words. Perhaps next year in the A to Z Challenge.
One thing I love about writing is because it’s a profession that has no age limits. Children learn how to read from age three or four on, and writing follows. Some writers remember their first stories and continued from there into adulthood. Writing can and should progress for as long as a writer’s health allows.
The wise writer should set up preventative measures such as using ergonomic furniture, and having a set of routines that includes walking around during writing breaks and taking longer chunks of time for daily exercise, or at least three or four times a week for good aerobic workouts. With various precautionary habits, your writing career should continue for a long, long time.
I’m going to approach one area of heath that has threatened to harass me, and make me think how unfortunate it would be if something like pain kept me from doing the thing I love most, writing. Many people have various forms of arthritis and the inflammation in their hands make it difficult to perform many tasks from art projects to opening a jar to writing.
I’m no doctor; that’s for sure, but I’m interested in anything having to do with nutrition and ways I can handle little aches and pains by adding or removing certain foods in my diet. I’ve listed a link below from Dr. Axe. for anybody wanting further reading on the subject.
Years ago I heard of the effects NIGHTSHADE vegetables can have on inflammation in your body, including joint pain and digestive issues. To preface this discovery of mine, I need to make known that one of my favorite foods are hot peppers. I crave the heat of the cayenne and habanero chilis. That said, the word Nightshade is a particular type of vegetables, that when consumed in many people actually causes inflammation. How can a vegetable be bad for you, you ask? Next thing I know, they’ll be nothing on the “good” list to eat. Simmer down now, like I mentioned, for someone to take peppers off my daily menu would not have had good results. So for the sake of my sanity and blogs like this one, I’ve taken the time to experiment this Nightshade consumption theory on my arthritic finger.
The term “nightshade” refers to a distinct group of plants that include more than 2,500 herbs, trees, and shrubs. Some of the plants in this family, such as tobacco, are also poisonous. Other, familiar ones include the following favorite vegetables:
Picture from glutenfreebooty.blogspot.com
Individual nightshades could contribute to your inflammatory health condition, and it’s an easy undertaking of omission to see which ones (if any) affect you. Nightshades as a general rule are completely healthy for most people. Just find out if you are ‘most people’ or if a nightshade veggie triggers a reaction.
This list of four vegetables is small, but there is a vast variety within this list. Nightshade vegetables are in the Solanaceae plant family and have a similarity in composition: calcitriol and alkaloids.
When I first learned of nightshade vegetables, I noticed that every time I’d eat any variety of potatoes, my little finger on my left hand would hurt. Not only that, I’d feel stiffness in both hands the next morning. With me, this started within an hour of eating potatoes. Oh well, it’s a good excuse not to add extra carbs to my diet. I’ve found many substitutes for potatoes that are just as satisfying, including mashed cauliflower, french fried butternut squash, and roasted turnips, to name a few.
When I decided to jump in and see how hot peppers affected me, I stopped eating anything hot for a couple of weeks. Then I added them back into my diet with reluctance, thinking I’d have to kiss my favorites goodbye, but that wasn’t the case. Yeah!!! For some reason, potatoes are a huge culprit for me. Eggplant too, but there’s no huge loss of love there, in my opinion anyway, but everybody has their favorites. So begin your own observations to find if removing any particular nightshade relieves your inflammatory symptoms.
All I know is by omitting potatoes from my diet, I am much happier when handwriting or typing away. I always share my thoughts whenever I come across anyone with arthritic pain. I hope this post was helpful to you. For detailed reading about nightshade check out this great article from Dr. Axe: http://draxe.com/nightshade-vegetables/
Let me know if anybody has ever heard of nightshade vegetables and if they have had any issues with them. Also pass on any writing forever tips that you might have. Love to hear them all.
When I think of Muse, I think of writers awaiting their Muse. When will they ever show up to help? In the meantime, they’re blocked and sit staring and the computer, a blank page, or an old-fashioned typewriter. If it’s a typewriter, many pieces of papers are pulled out and crumpled, and thrown in the nearby garbage can in frustration. The picture is amusing, and they react like a spoiled child having a tantrum. The word amusing, I’m sure is some derivative of Muse.I’ve never experienced writer’s block before, knock on wood, but I have been influenced by my Muse in writing prose and poetry. I mentioned Mozart in the title because many writers like to listen to music as they write. If I do, my preference is Classical Music, and Mozart is top on the list. They say that Classical music helps connect the right side and the left side of the brain together. Accessing the left side of my brain needs all the help it can get, since I’m not too mathematical by nature.
Further, I’ve read that chickens lay more eggs if Classical music is played in the chicken coop. You might not believe that, but if you have chickens that aren’t laying very well, you might give it a try. I guess they need a little encouragement and creative juices flowing from time to time too.
I wrote a scene about the Muse, in my second book, ‘The Thief Who Stole Eternity.’ I’ve added that scene below to give you an idea of how a Muse might work while under its spell, even while writing a college paper. The concept should work for any written piece. For everyone that hasn’t read this book, there are two Muses working in the scene below. Finding your own Muse is unlimited in its expression, but I’ll share my take, just for fun.
Second Scene of Chapter Twenty-Six
With all the deep-seated thoughts of her present circumstances with a new mission in life, Cat remembered writing in college. She saw herself sitting in front of the computer, set up on the dormitory desk with barely any room to spread out other research books. She enjoyed the solitude while her roommate, as well as the whole campus, slept.
She gazed carefully at the computer drawing a blank on what to write, how to even get started with this college paper. She continued typing and retyping and blinked in the glare of the screen as she tried to focus on the task. As an undergraduate, her dual major in journalism and biology allowed her to write about marine biology, the profession she would work within eventually.
Argh, this crazy paper, it might just end my college days if I don’t finish it. Her mind wandered to her first real exposure to biology at summer camp. Her mind wandered still to Shenser. With the paper due the next day, and she glimpsed at the time visible on the upper corner of her screen, and shirked. Sorry, my love, I don’t have time to think about you.
In the light of that, she thought this report didn’t matter as much as her thoughts or rephrasing her daydreams, of him. She found she’d go in spurts of thinking about him. When the Shenser spell hit, sometimes it would last for weeks on end, stuck in a familiar time warp.
Get real girl. I’m not going to get over him, so why don’t I incorporate him into my term paper. Hey, I know, Shenser I’m going to make you my Muse. With that, she posed her fingers on the keyboard and started clicking. The paper itself didn’t matter whether, for her philosophy class or any class, she had similar struggles. She now could incorporate her research into her paper, and it flowed as easily as a child sweeping down a water slide into a pool.
Despite appearances, once Cat found this conduit she could write anything. Now, she never procrastinated because she never knew for sure when that Muse would carry her.
She felt a similar feeling on this remote viewing team, and in the process of learning the techniques that Gage taught them as a group. Hmm, when it comes down to seeing objects and things clearly, can I perform?
Will anybody? I’ll probably struggle like with the college papers? It dawned on her, unless I find another Muse. She reached into her pocket where she kept the gold locket tucked away. Nah, working around Shenser hasn’t helped me learn the next steps to this ‘find Saidi game.’ But maybe her necklace can help my intuition?
As a result of finding the key to writing her college papers, damned if she didn’t sport that ability all the way through college. Though, when she read the entire paper starting with the first sentence clear through to the end, she admitted it sounded good but had nothing to do with any talent on her part. Yup, yup, it’s my well-used crutch. Well Shenser, I hope I’m not wearing you out from overuse.
But to her delight it worked, she wrote amazingly well. It sure beat the opposite, hours after hours of working hard with nothing to show for her diligence.
Everyone is different how they access the Muse. I’m going to leave you a quote from Roman Payne – “The ‘Muse’ is not an artistic mystery, but a mathematical equation. The gift are those ideas you think of as you drift to sleep. The giver is that one you think of when you first awake.”
With the simple inclusion of finding a Muse, creative problem solvers prove to themselves and others—no matter how perplexed their stories may be—that the discovery they’re looking for is out there waiting for them, they just need to find it.
Drop me a note on how you access your “Muse.” Is it a person, music, a fictitious character, or a tree or animal personified? Whatever it may be, I’d love to hear.
The reason I love writing, in one phrase, is line of thought. I’m sure every writer also follows a line of thought, but may go about it in different ways. My first poem that I kept from age 16 drove the joy of writing deep into my heart. Writing became a way to articulate words that I couldn’t always say with the same clarity. Writing became a way to keep the wheels turning in my thought process that refused silencing, but often had a difficult time expressing themselves verbally.
When I wrote then and now, I could gather my thoughts, even a little at a time, jot them down and rearrange them if needed into poetry, a short story, or even over time, a novel–one sentence at a time.
Here’s a poem I wrote in teens. It’s funny now to look back and examine where that line of thought began. Here’s the poem:
If Thoughts Were Things
by Pam Kesterson
If thoughts were things,
And people thoughts,
Of diamond rings and apricots.
Of star filled nights,
And sleepy days and always looking for new ways.
Pondering, dwelling, then releasing the thought.
Try imagining all you’ve got.
Why not reach out in reality,
Capture that thought
And set that dream free.
Writing poetry are shorter ‘thoughts.’ Whereas writing a book is similar to running a marathon one step at a time. If you think about the process of marathoning or writing a novel before you start, it’s too mind boggling, and people tend to quit before they even begin.
photo by Megan Lewis
Once I began that first step, my writing and goals began to cover a myriad of topics of interest. When I’d research one area, another tributary passion would emerge out of nowhere, but in reality, it had lain hidden all along. By writing, I expanded my diversions, became well read on many topics from marriage and family books to dream analysis, started new hobbies, expanding the arts, learning to rock climb, scuba dive, distance run, bake bread, make kombucha and a multitude of other things. All of which required research and hands-on, up close and personal experience. Though I’ve always tried to stay objective, refusing to take on some topics as my own, exploring them, nonetheless for the sake of my characters, and what their interests or issues might be, to create a well-rounded story. I wouldn’t be a sucker for claiming every interesting subject I researched on my own, with no way to escape. It’s easy to feel like a sponge; I have to admit. So I usually have a good talk with myself ahead of researching a given topic, and remind myself to stay on track.
Lines Curves Photography
It all starts with one line of thought, and can so easily end up anywhere. Then some writers like to limit themselves to a particular genre, like a Labrador Retriever, born for one thing, especially in water. Their line(s) of thought tend to remain on topic. Other authors follow their nose, like a Beagle dog chasing a scent. That’s me in a nutshell. What kind of a writer are you?
As I looked through various K words to decide which one to use for the A to Z Challenge, when I saw Kindle, I went no further. Many of you have heard about my love affair with my Kindle Reader. I’ll explain why I’m so addicted, or I mean dependent on the silly little device. My husband surprised me with a Kindle Fire HD in 2012 for my birthday. I reassured him that I wouldn’t use it that much as he hinted around that I needed one before my birthday. I liked good old-fashioned books that I could hold on to and resist from making dog ears when I stopped, in readiness for my next reading session.
I had finished the last draft of my first novel that would soon go on Amazon and that further confirmed to my husband that I needed a Kindle. So against my secret thoughts of money better spent, I smiled and said, “You always pick the best gifts.”
But I was in for a complete mind twist. First off, I had access to hundreds and thousands, no millions of books at my fingertips. I signed up for all the blogs that featured free Kindle books, and every day was like my birthday or Christmas all over again, as I downloaded free books loaded onto my Kindle – and to the cloud. Occasionally I’d buy a book, to support this great new Indie industry, but my goal was to have endless book on my Kindle to choose from. I couldn’t read fast enough.
Then one day I discovered, quite by accident, that my Kindle Fire was also a reader. By going into the setting, I could turn the Text-to-Speech ‘On,’ and then a sweet-sounding computer voice read the book to me, all by just tapping the arrow. This simple ability became as cool as having a clone, because now I could read all these great books while driving, cooking, cleaning and even sometimes working at the computer.
I’ve always loved books on tape for that reason, but now every single book I had acted like a book on tape, minus the fancy accent. I was now more than hooked. Then I found out another secret that was beyond cool. When I registered my new Kindle I was given a Kindle email address, with no instructions as to why. But here’s what you can do, and I do it all the time. Send a document that you’re currently writing to your email address, and the ‘Reader’ part will read your work to you. It’s great for proofreading for a flow of how your story sounds out loud. Before that time, I’d always read my story out loud, but with the reader function, now I didn’t have to–again a huge timesaver.
I don’t know why, but if and when I’d send a PDF file to my Kindle email, the reader function didn’t work. I experimented with Word DOCs and HTML, and an html always worked, so that’s what I send to my email. Simply copy and save the HTML, then download to you Kindle email address. Instantly it’s there to read.
Now here’s the glitch. A year into my love affair with my Kindle, or maybe two year in, my daughter-in-law told me that the new Kindle Fire HD’s don’t have the reader feature anymore. Since Audible was bought out by Amazon, Amazon removed that feature so they’d encourage people to buy the Audible books.
Luckily Kindle’s are made extremely well, and for a couple of years I had insurance on my Kindle in case something terrible happened and it stopped working. I used the insurance one time. However, last week my Kindle stopped taking a charge and I had flashes of a dead Kindle consume my thoughts. I had to go without my Kindle for a good 24 hours and I wasn’t sure if I’d survive. That might sound melodramatic, but now I know I have dependency issues bringing up genuine time-management needs that I met in the past before my Kindle. It’s not even that I’d have to spend another $200.00 for a new Kindle, although that’s a good chunk of money, but it’s that the Text-to-Speech isn’t in the new ones. I don’t think Amazon considered the impact of trauma that would have on some readers, like me.
Now Amazon has a new ‘talking’ kid on the block. The new Echo that provides hands-free voice control for Pandora, Amazon Music, Spotify, Prime Music, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio. But, if you sent a manuscript to Echo, you might be able to hear what it sounds like read, but there’s no way to mark an error, or make any notes at all.
Echo might have crisp vocals that come across on its dual downward-firing speakers to fill the room, but listening to a book, and certainly an unedited book, is more a private thing that you don’t want to be broadcast out to the world – quite yet. So I’m not sold on the Echo.
In my spare time, which isn’t much, I go on Craig’s list and look if there are any Kindle HD Readers 2012, if I ever find one or even twenty of them, I will stockpile them for the frightful day that my Kindle ever leaves me.
I’d love to hear if anybody else uses the Kindle as I do. Or if anybody has had any luck with the Echo, which is about at the same price point.
noun Definition of jam1. A food made by boiling fruit and sugar to a thick consistency
Origin of jam
First Known Use: circa 1736
When I think of jam, I smell the tangy mixture of endless possibilities. A recipe, weather its jam or cookies, is the creators own expression. Jam can be simple with the basics, sweet fruit, and pectin, or mixed with spices and sweeteners and packaged in a decorative jar with a ribbon.
Just like jam, a story can have as many aspects as the creator wants.
Jammed in doorAnother Definition of JamVERB (jams, jamming, jammed)1[WITH OBJECT AND ADVERBIAL] Squeeze or pack tightly into a specified space: four of us were jammed in one compartment people jammed their belongings into cars[NO OBJECT, WITH ADVERBIAL]: mom, dad, and I jammed into the pickup truck
2Become or make unable to move or work due to a part seizing up or becoming stuck:[NO OBJECT]: the photocopier jammed[WITH OBJECT]: the doors were jammed open.
Jammed also implies your forced into place like the puppies in the above picture, and then stuck. Again in writing, this word can mean something good, or could express frustration with a negative effect.
Though, if something is jam packed full, it’s concentrated. This concept is perfect for a short story or poem, where many thoughts present themselves.
Yet Another Definition of Jam
Jamming: Informal Improvise with other musicians, especially in jazz or blues.
Jamming is the word used when musicians or artists get together to practice in a creative way, bouncing ideas off one another to further perfect their entertainment. This use of the word shows that, even if a person sings or plays an instrument by themselves, it’s nice to interact with others.
Writers too can interact and jam, so to speak, with other authors. They can coauthor books together. They can write an anthology jammed full of stories in the same genre or focus. In an anthology, each author can have equal space, or the main author’s name can appear first and he or she can take more space, or organize the collection however they feel lead.This kind of jamming rewards everyone involved, all while creating a comradery.
Not only is the word jam a fun word to us for stuck, and many other phrases like, ” jamming on the brakes,” or “I’m in a jam,” but it also rhymes with so man words. It’s the kind of word that makes you smile, at least, it does me. Maybe it’s because finding toe jam in my toes makes me giggle.
1.: one that incubates: as an apparatus by which eggs are hatched artificially. 2: an apparatus with a chamber used to provide controlled environmental conditions especially for the cultivation or place that aids the development of new business ventures especially by providing low-cost commercial space, management assistance, or shared services.Types of Homemade Incubators Used to hatch chicks.
An incubator is a device that provides controlled conditions for the hatching of eggs. There are different types of incubators such as Still-Air and Convection.
STILL-AIR. I will use the Still-air incubators that measure both humidity and temperature as an example of the writing process in this blog post. By placing eggs in a warm, aquarium that has a thermometer to ensure a consistent heat of 102 degrees, after 21 days chicks hatch. In the homemade incubator that I used as a kid, I think I had a heating pad at the bottom of the aquarium. It had a small mesh wire over a space that has the water well for humidity; I remember a heating pad in there somewhere and a cloth over the wire. The teacher instructed that I needed to set up an incubator with freshly laid eggs and then monitor the process of hatching a bunch of chicks. There were very few instructions (that I recall), except that I needed to turn the eggs four times a day and when the chicks started to crack out of their shells at 21 days, I was not supposed to help them. Cracking their shell made them strong enough to survive.
But, true to form, when the 21 days were up, and one of the eggs started rattling, I was so excited, and I couldn’t stop myself, but to help this little chick out of its prison. I did just that, as when his little beak cracked the shell, I peeled the outer part just to make it a little easier for him. At first, he was so still, nothing happening and I wondered if I should have let him come out on its own, and then boink! Up popped his head! Cute! I couldn’t wait to meet my new pet.
Soon Chickadee was completely free of his shell, and he stood wet, but looked plenty strong to me, so I didn’t know why such a silly rule existed of not helping. Not only that, I took my new chick and put him in his prepared box that I kept in my bedroom with a nice heat lamp overhead to keep him warm. Except, in all my excitement, and since the other three eggs weren’t shaking and quaking, I turned the heating pad and heat lamp off and thought they were just duds, poor things. But rather I concentrated all my devotion on Chickadee.
I’m telling you this story, because thinking about it, it’s so similar to the writing process, whether it’s a story or a full-0n book. There’s a lot of preparing, counting the days, waiting (sometimes in frustration), then finally the deadline comes, finished or not, it’s too easy to force it out of the shell. Plus, the early abandoned thoughts and dreams that went by the wayside is something you don’t always comprehend until it’s too late.
Onward with my chick story. When my Chickadee was a couple of days old, I settled into my routine of feeding him, and always keeping the light over him in his cardboard box that nested on my bedside table. However, one night as I was almost ready to go to sleep for the night, I picked up Chickadee and held him on my chest while petting his white Silkie soft down. He was so cute and such a great little creature. The next thing I knew, my Uncle who visited from out of town came in to say goodbye as he was leaving. But he asked me, “Pam, where is Chickadee; he’s not it his box.”
Suddenly I remembered that I was keeping him warm and, “Oh no, where was he?” I frantically looked all over the bed, and then finally I looked under my pillow. Chickadee was under there and flatter than a pancake. He was not bloody, but quite dead and he looked like a chick printed in color on a flat piece of paper. I was devastated. By my kindness, I murdered my cute little chick. It’s a sad story, I know.
Though, back to the writing analogy. As writers we all need to:
Kill Our Darlings
Sometimes it’s a tough reality to find out your entire previous writing session included pages and pages of worthless prose of thoughts and writings that didn’t penetrate someone else’s imagination. Therefore, you can’t expect the reader to plunge through needless sentiments, words and tangents just because they sounded so good when you wrote them.
After Chickadee’s untimely death, it occurred to me that I still had three eggs that I abandoned. Oh yes, like a dummy, I turned off the light. But my curiosity couldn’t keep me from going back to the incubator in the basement to see if possibly the other chicks might still, somehow have survived. I found all the eggs still intact. In fact, one of them had cracks on the surface. When I cracked all the cold eggs, I found fully-developed chicks. Oops! Lesson learned.
Also, the writing lesson learned is never to throw out the beginnings of stories, partially or fully developed. Keep them in some form, on the computer, paper, even post-its work. You can always use phrases, sentences, full paragraphs, or even an entire novel in the future. It’s also good to have many different ideas going that you can pull from when needed. Words of wisdom, let your writings develop and stand on their own naturally. Also, don’t ever turn the lights off any idea because you could and should end up with lots and lots of chicks, ur, uh, books.
The writing word of the day is HATS. Why hats? Well, the idiom: ‘Wear many hats,’ will relay my point.
Idiom Definitions for ‘Wear many hats’
If someone wears many hats, they have different roles or tasks to perform.
Gone are the days of only writing and letting your publisher take care of all the rest. Being a writer is no different than any other small business. Even the publishing houses require its authors to have a platform. Yes, having a platform takes a lot of time out of your writing schedule, but as in yesterday’s post, communicating on writing blogs benefit you and other writers alike.
Identify your favorite responsibilities:
In the Indie author realm, aside from the actual writing, you probably have other creative abilities that you naturally gravitate to and can do efficiently, so you’re not spending all your time on this project. Because after all, time is money. For example, if a certain aspect of your business takes too much time such as designing a cover image of quality that will meet all the specs for both digital and print, then it’s best to hire a professional.
Whereas, if you can format your ebook and printed book, without frustration, combined with linking correctly to the table of contents, and chapters and pages starting in the proper place, then go for it. As long as it’s time well spent and fun? Some people enjoy formatting.
It’s important to distinguish which responsibilities you want to handle, or manage, and which ones you hire out – which contrary to what I mentioned above, even the writing can be contracted out to a ghost writer if you feel so inclined. I know there are businesses out there with hundreds of books, and they contract every portion of the process. There are plenty of blogs and websites you can glean information from, or purchase online courses that show you how to publish books without ever writing a word. This blog is not that because I love to write so much to outsource.
Scheduletimeoutside of writing: It’s crucial to have a life outside of writing. I’m all for having a set time to write and editing, and it’s set so you won’t be interrupted for an hour or two, or three. I have another time for all the social media sites, marketing, etc. but another time to schedule in is family time, even if it’s not a place you’re going, but any time together outside of your writing time. Otherwise, it’s too easy to write nonstop, at the risk of super important things like relationships. So put on the family hat and enjoy that precious time.
There are lots of reasons for using a pen name, but in today’s world it seems to boil down to three main categories:
To hide or protect the author’s true identity. You can use your first and middle initials if you do not want your readers to know your gender. You can have a pen name for any subject you don’t want friends or family to read about.
To separate the author’s books into different types. To keep one genre separate from the other(s).
To keep your identity separate from your professional name. You might not want to confuse people, if you’re a Police Chief (or any other profession) who writes ______fill in the blank genre.
To shorten a longer name or have the name rhyme or be similar to the series name. For example, I have a pen name P.D. Kesters for my Pranksters Series. To me, Kesters sounds similar to Pranksters. So I used my initials and dropped the ‘on’ on my last name Kesterson. You can also take the first name and spell out your middle initial. In my case that would be Pam Dee, or Pamila (I know, that’s the correct spelling of my first name) Dee-Pamila Dee.
So it’s easy to see how many hats are needed to wear as you write, enjoy family and friends, and also lead your secret life with a pen name. Wearing many hats can turn the average person into the cousin of a super hero.
Giveback:n. A previously negotiated workers’ benefit relinquished to management, as for some concession was given.
adj. 1. Accustomed (to) by habit, etc. 2. Specified. 3.assumed; granted – n. something assumed or accepted as fact.
As a writer, I love nothing more than sitting myself in the chair to write, write, write. The introvert side of me could easily ignore many aspects functioning as a human, such as having the balance of making a living, relationships, leisure time, and giving back to your community. In the writing community, there are plenty of ways to giveback all of which are incredibly rewarding.
Though, it’s still a struggle for me not to put my blinders on my writer’s eyes and just worry about writing my current story. My Finished manuscript calls out to me loud and clear. I like nothing more than abiding by my self-made deadlines, and ignoring the rest of the world. But that way of thinking is selfish and believe it or not less productive than being energized by gIving back and helping others.
Over the years, I’ve done my share of volunteering from giving blood, to being a mother helper at school, and routinely helping at church, donating time and effort to food banks, etc. On the writing side of life, I’ve also been involved with writing groups that physically get together once a week to read and critique each other’s work. Other times I’ve been an island by myself and trying to make sense of my works, badgering my spouse to be my first reader (like Stephen King’s wife), and hinting around to friends who like to read, hoping they might want to read my books before or after publication.
Almost a year ago, I was invited to join an online writing group on Facebook. I feel privileged to have found the Indie Authors Support and a Discussion online writing group. Before that time, sure I’d review various Indie books that I’d read, but that was my extent of giving back to the writing community. What was missing in my life was all the helpful discussions, because a hundred plus like-minded heads are better than one. In this playground, everybody plays an important part of posting questions and bouncing ideas off one another.
I’ve found plenty of occasions to beta read for others and many others have done the same for me. I’ve given feedback on future covers, getting and giving ideas on formatting, advertising, sharing what works and doesn’t work in publishing digital and printed books, crying on each other’s virtual shoulders, etc.
For me, IASD, and a select few other online groups have taken my writing to the next level. If you think about it in the light of lifelong learning, a writing group that you’re vested in is as valuable as getting a Masters Degree in Literature. That’s how I view this opportunity.
Many in this group and another private group I’m involved in have volunteered as admin and have much more time and skills put forth to the cause than I have offered. I’ve only participated in the discussions and support part, but it benefits writers. So hats off to the admin teams of the writing world. Your time given is a lifeline to writers who are part of these groups. I aspire to help out wherever I can. I for one appreciate all you do and look to your dedication as an example.
I’ll continue to volunteer as part of the chat room because I feel like I’m helping others in some small way, even allowing me to continue to find my voice and give back to a community that has given me so much. I continue to work towards volunteering more, but because of all the support I’ve received, I’ve learned I’m more than a writer standing (or sitting) alone. I’ve become a happier wife, a friend to many all over the world, and finally, a more fulfilled writer.