Photo Courtesy FindAGrave.com, and
use here does not imply
their endorsement of me/my work.
So I haven't written much lately -- guess what? Neither has Hemingway. I have so many things I want to tell you. Unfortunately, they are more in limbo than out. I pretended I had a comfort zone and stepped outside of it last year. Actually, the last 2-5 years. So 2018 has me returning to a hidey-hole of sorts, allowing certain entrepreneurial fields to go fallow while working on some more creative endeavors of a personal nature. I am also open to seeing what comes, especially of some opportunities I have had to support the artistic and entrepreneurial endeavors of others in this harrowing political time. I do believe there is a moral crisis going on -- and I believe that there is a huge cavern between what I perceive as morals and what my opposition views as morals. I have morals which can easily be understood by a five year old and don't make my teenager look at me like I have two heads. Collectively, my spouse, son, and I have started looking at our opposition that way -- one head they talk from while the other is shoved firmly up their ass. Make no mistake. I support immigrants, not walls. Marijuana, not big Pharma. People, not corporations. Soldiers, not guns/weapons/special interest groups with government contracts. I've been more vocal on social media than personally, though I think anyone reading my blog would be well aware of my political leanings. Except it really isn't political anymore. Not in my mind. I'm updating my website again today. Some things are frustrating me. One was that the blog wasn't loading. So while I was figuring that out, I wrote this. Sure hope you enjoyed it. And I have some old stuff making a comeback here from Wikinut. So you have that to look forward to. Or not.
Many of my clients must have been told by previous writing teachers that their characters were flat.
I say they must have, because what I read, especially from my young writers, is adult characters who absolutely can't make up their minds.
And I know the students want to push back when I tell them to make decisions about their characters.
Because they're characters.
Totally made up.
Their motivations don't matter.
Like when an adult tells a child to clean a room. What is the point other than exerting authority?
From the young person's perspective, I get it. Honestly.
Writers are creating characters. Writers have the challenge of creating arbitrary characters to move their plots forward. Those plots, and the characters that drive those plots, are as varied as infinite numbers. But those reasons must exist in relation to the plot of the story.
And (MOST) writers must learn to create and develop characters the same way they learned to run.
Readers may not want flat characters, but writers need to create simple characters consistently before they can build complex characters that still make sense to readers. And if readers are reading the work of new writers, I hope they will understand and encourage writers at each step of the way. This includes encouraging young people to read LOTS, reading young writers' work and providing constructive criticism (emphasis on the constructive, not so much the criticism). And if those things aren't in a reader's wheelhouse, help connect the young writer with someone who will read their work and help them be better.
The FABULOUS surreal Bohemian artist Krissy Whiski is going to collaborate with me on a children's book I wrote the text for in October. I will share that story with you later. But today, I want to plug the artist who is bound and determine to make me cry, balter, and laugh all at the same time. So this is some of my favorite Whiski art, and I hope you will love it, share it, and support her. Buy some art she's already created so she has room for more art and money for more canvas and paint!!
This one is StarChild. The version I prefer has puzzle pieces painted into the corner, which reminds me of Josephine Wall. I told Krissy I want this print as a puzzle.
This is Sherbert Unicorn. I love how the ice cream cone makes the horn. It's so effortless.
I love the ice cream cone babies. I have the limited edition stickers on my fridge (and you don't). But you can get the chocolate ice cream baby on a Tshirt. I love baby TRex, and will probably buy it when it is wearable. Krissy understands inclusivity, and carries sizes up to 3XL!
And I know a lot of people love David Bowie, but the way Krissy captures him is just fantastic. To my knowledge, these aren't for sale yet, but they will be.
Whisky also made a special commission "Angry Birds" for me. If I haven't already shared it, I will in another post. You can't buy it -- it belongs to me! So no use making you all jealous.
If you participated in the annual Turkey Trot, then you are so much braver, more resilient, more energetic (etc) than
I saw you on Facebook and your energy wore me out.
But I am so proud of you for doing something that you enjoyed.
Event organizers said there would be 5,000 of you out there on Thanksgiving
day. I said "NAH."
I was wrong. I really think there were 5,000 of you out there!!
In 1,000 of the participant treat bags, there was information
about my classes and workshops on a small full color flyer (1/3 a full size
sheet of printer paper).
Which means 4,000 of you did not get that flyer.
And, as sometimes happens, some information on that flyer is
missing or out of date. In our digital age, some things DO change fast!!
So let me just say -- YES!! I help young people (and age is
relative) to write their own books, publish them, and even sell them on Amazon.
What I do is more about teaching students to finish what they
start, to see things through, to create goals and achieve them, and to have
something to show for all that hard work. I am not the judge or gatekeeper of
creative vision (there are a few things that fall under the
"bullying/abuse" category that I won't help get published. If at all
possible, I will steer authors in a better creative direction). Instead,
I remove the magic curtain and show how it gets done.
Also you may have heard that I sometimes use writing classes to
teach and promote literacy. All true!! Students know the story they
want to tell, and recognize their own words and speech patterns in print. This allows them to pick up reading skills faster than reading something that
doesn't interest them. So don't think that struggles with reading would prevent
your child from being successful. I'm not about selling your young person
One of the ways I keep my classes affordable is by borrowing space
whenever possible. So I like to cluster a group of students around a specific
day and time, and then find a venue that will accommodate us. So maybe you're in Lancaster or Hanover and want a class there instead of York? Or you have a group of Girl Scouts that meets on Wednesday nights? Let me know and I will do my best to accommodate you!
I prefer to teach each class one day a week for four to six weeks
rather than cram years of effort and research into a single class or a single
week. Think about it -- would you expect your child to master a piano concerto
or a roundoff back handspring in a day? But writers are often at different
stages. Some know how to craft a story and are only interested in technical
stuff. Others only write for themselves and have no interest in sharing their
work with the world. So I offer both experiences whenever possible.
Whether or not one of my flyers was in your bag, stay up-to-date on the latest class information by LIKING the
Creative Writing and Publishing Workshop Page on Facebook. To find out about
specific classes, send me a Private Message or email me. You can even PM/email
your name and number and I will call you on the phone to talk about what you
want or need and how I can help. If cost is a problem, let me know that, too. I
have a few very generous anonymous donors who will sponsor a young person's
If you are interested in sponsoring a student now or in the
future, please reach out to me as well. Authors who came to my public school
when I was a child inspired me to write and inspire others. I want that legacy
to carry on!!
Schedule your child for a month of creative writing (8 hours, 4
sessions, 2 hours per session)!
Or take it one class at a time. 90 minute classes are $20 each,
and include all supplies.