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Archive for November, 2013

The holiday season is upon us here in the U.S., and so is the great beast of Capitalism. What are the holidays about again, hmmm?

Don’t feed the beast!

No Shopping on Thanksgiving

And here’s a couple previous blogs I did on the subject, just for clarification:

Gobble Gobble

Holiday Schmoliday

Bright Blessings and safe travel to you all this holiday season.

(PS: We’ll return to our regularly scheduled rantings next week. Thanks for playing!)

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Because ya’ll didn’t have enough distractions to your writing as it is. Yeah, that’s how well mine is going. How’s YOUR NaNoWriMo project, hmmmm?

This, and many other lovely nature related videos and accompanying plethora of information, is also available at the National Geographic webiste. I make no claims as to copyrights or contents – I just thought it’s cool and wanted to share.

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November 11th is celebrated as Veterans Day here in the U.S. The difference between it and Memorial Day is the latter exists to remember those who gave their lives for our country, while the former is meant to thank those who are still around and giving of their service.

The U.S. is also unusual in that we have an entirely “volunteer” military. We don’t have required service as most countries (though I think we should – a discussion for another day). Everyone in the armed forces today is there because they CHOSE to be there. Each and every one of them CHOSE to put their lives on the line to support our ideals and our way of life. Regardless of what we may think about our government’s policies, the soldiers who stand up for us everyday deserve our undying respect and support.

So to my father, who spent his active service in the Air Force, including a year in Vietnam, and finished in the Coast Guard Reserve, thank you.

To my sister, who did a tour in the Army so she could get a better education (she’s a Ph.D. now!), thank you.

To my sister’s husband, who retired from the Navy and then went back to spend some time in the Air Reserve, thank you.

To my husband, who proudly took on the monikers of “Jarhead” and “Devil Dog” by joining the Marines, thank you.

And to all my friends, known and unknown, who have served, are serving or will serve, you have my utmost respect and admiration. I sincerely hope that one day the human race grows up to the point that we no longer need the services of soldiers, but until that time, let’s make sure the people are separated from the policies and given the care and consideration they deserve.

Semper Fi.

US Military Seals

© 2013   Cheri K. Endsley   All Rights Reserved.

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I was watching television the other day and a commercial came on that asked people what they would do if they didn’t have to worry about money and could do anything they wanted. The first answer was “be a writer.” It was a common answer, too. I have dozens of friends and acquaintances that also have that dream, to be a writer, but only a handful of them are actually working toward that end. A select few are even making money at it. Not great gobs, mind you. People like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling are freaks in the literary world. The rest of us schlubs just plunk away as best we can, hoping we can scrape enough words together to convince someone, somewhere, to pay us a few pence, just so we can say we really are professional writers.

What is it about writing that makes so many people think they can do it? I made the mistake of asking my husband (he who has also mentioned he wants to write) that question, and he just sent it back to me:

Him:   Well, why do YOU think you can write?

Me:      Because I think I’m pretty good at it. And people have told me I’m pretty good at it. And, mainly, because I can’t NOT write.

Him:   You’re not writing all the time.

Me:      *frustrated spiral further into depression*

He’s right: I’m terrible at following my own advice. Even when I actually sit down at the computer and open up my novel, I keep finding other things to do. Like pet the cat, check Facebook, watch kitteh videos on YouTube, balance the checkbook. You get the idea. I have a hard time getting started, which is confusing to me because nearly every waking hour is spent with those characters and their problems swirling around in my head. But when it comes time to put it all down in writing, I’m a procrastinator extraordinaire.

Last week I mentioned that I was going to unofficially participate in this year’s NaNoWriMo by working on my novel at the same pace required of actual participants. Those of you who are successfully on track at this point are probably up to about 8,000 words. I’m at just under 2,500. That means I’m averaging 500 words a day. And it takes me two to four hours to do that. I probably shouldn’t admit that given I’m shopping around my first novel and some potential agent or publisher could see this and wonder if I’ll be able to get them a second book before I die of old age. Sorry, no guarantees. Though my family is pretty long-lived, so chances are good…

But the question is still unanswered: why does everybody want to write? There’s a mystique to writing that seems to draw the fantasies of untold numbers. Work at home, on your own schedule, drinking a cup of tea while gazing out onto a flock of ducks floating across a misty pond, etc., etc. The masses seem to think it’s a life of leisure that allows you to rake in the money by selling a few books. If only!

We, of course, know the truth behind that myth. The vast majority of people out there who think they can write are actually hacks just putting words together to fill space. You can’t spend more than a few minutes on the Internet without coming across them. Bad spelling, terrible grammar, typos, and barely coherent thoughts expressed in a style equivalent to the average fifth grader. For all its wonders, for all the opportunities it has allowed writers with its immense demand for content, the Internet has actually proven to be the bane of good writing.

The truth is, writing is fucking hard work. It’s more than just knowing the rules. It’s more than just active vs. passive voice, why first person point of view works for some stories and not for others, or how many different ways you can have your character talk, speak, blurt, demand, exclaim, shout…

Writing – REAL writing – is the ability to tap into something unexplainable, and then share that with the world. Real writing is an art, which sucks the reader into another time and place and allows them to experience something amazing and profound and heart breaking. Real writing is an intangible gift and should not be taken lightly.

Most of those people we know who claim they want to be writers will never do anything more than Twitter posts about their lunch. Which is already more than they should, but that’s just my inner snark coming out. Some of those people may actually learn to be competent with words. Plenty of people can write well. They are good craftsmen, and can be entertaining, educational and even thought provoking. But very few people are writers. There’s only one Stephen King for a reason.

I’m no Stephen King, but I do think I have something worth sharing, and that’s why I keep doing this. I hope I’m not one of those delusional wanna-be’s, the kind you see in the first few weeks of reality show competitions like America’s Got Talent who are CONVINCED they are the ultimate gift to entertainment, only to be the gawd-awful train wreck of train wrecks. Maybe by being worried about that means I’m not. Sort of like you’re not really crazy if you’re worried about being crazy, so then I must be a writer if I’m worried about not being one. Or something like that.

Even when I’m distracted by other things, dealing with depression, procrastinating my way through the days, and getting rejection after rejection, writing haunts me. I HAVE to do it. I come back to it time after time, day after day, because I can’t NOT. It is an obsession, an addiction, my lifeblood. Maybe that makes me crazy after all.

But it also makes me a writer.

© 2013   Cheri K. Endsley   All Rights Reserved.

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