If You Are a Writer... Write!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Not Even 30 Days

I visited a new blog yesterday My Voice, My View after she had posted at Pictures, Poetry & Prose (welcome septembermom). She had a post about seeking places for publication for her poetry. So, I offered one magazine that I liked with a link as a comment to her post. That got me thinking (always a bad thing) that maybe I could continue to help motivate writers by creating a blog offering a daily post of a writing market, writing contest, writing article or other writing related motivation. Of course I also thought, who the hell do I think I am. But you know, I think anything that helps motivate and encourage others to succeed is a worthwhile venture. Yes, there are many resources out there and available on the net, but maybe my little blog will be the one that you come to once a day, once a week, once a month and find a new place to offer your writing. Maybe it will become a positive habit in your life and you will find that you begin writing more, submitting more and finding pleasure and success in a way that you desire. That would be wonderful. If we don't reach out we can never touch another life.

So, yes, I did it and Places to Publish is now born. It has only been 24 days since I started my last blog. That is it, I swear to Buddha not another blog for a month. LOL... Well, each blog is different and unique from the other. They each have a function, a purpose and a place in my heart.

Yeah, yeah... I am just trying to justify my addiction and that I am sure this is not healthy behavior.

But I really like this new one. It is just that so many of the bloggers and writer friends I know and I enjoy write so very wonderfully and I know could be published in print if that was something they desired to pursue.

At Places to Publish I am also posting each Friday a challenge to maybe spur on some people to take the plunge and offer their little babies to the cold cruel world. I hope if you are motivated in any way you will leave a comment. My good friend Kay likes to say about submitting for publication, "just throw it in an envelope and throw it in the mailbox." It is so true, you have to submit and keep submitting and you will find success (writing well helps too, but you already do that).

And I promise not another blog for 30+ days or I am joining a twelve step group. Bloggers Anonymous. Hello, my name is Laura Jayne and I am a blogger.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Painting in Big Bear

Power to Stop

I thought the prompt at The One Minute Writer today was particularly thought provoking. If you were all-powerful, would you stop all war? If so, how?


If I gave you the ability to feel another's physical pain you would still cut him down for your rightous cause.

If I gave you the ability to know another thoughts and fears you would use that to your advantage and magnify his fears for your desires to be fulfilled.

If I gave you the curse to suffer the mental anguish of another man's loss of family and home you would say it was justified to the ends you desire and shake it off like blanket that is too hot and smothering.

We, all men, already know the pain we inflict. We already know how those we decide to hate suffer and fear as we slash and burn. We see their grief, we feel it inside, as they tear their hair and weep out their despair as a child lays dieing in the street. It hasn't stopped, it will not stop for man can justify anything for a cause he believes to be true. Religion, land, wealth, a way of life, freedom, opression, we will always find a reason that makes our hearts and minds numb to others.

No God can stop it. And so He feels our suffering, He knows our fears, aches for our loss of innocence. He weeps bitter tears every moment of every day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Using Your Words for Good

Nearly every day I send a text message to my husband between 9:15 and 9:30 in the morning as I know this is his break time. I send a few quick words to let him know I am thinking of him, loving him, proud of him. I try and come up with a little something that I think will make him smile.

When my grandfather was alive, once a month my daughter would write a letter to him. She would let him know how and what she was doing in college and how his financial support has contributed to our ability as a family to put her through college. These letters were a small thank you for that generosity.

When I read a column by Rick Reilly in Sports Illustrated about the tremendous good a simple bed net can do in certain malaria infested zones of Africa. I wrote a check for $20 to the group NothingButNets.org, but I also wrote an email to several friends sharing what I thought was a real and tangible way to save a life, to do something good.

Today I wrote an e-card message and sent it to my best-friend just to let her know what her friendship means to me. I wrote a sticky-note thank you to a coworker when something she did made my job a little easier.

My friend, Kay joined a letter writing campaign started by several animal rights groups to a pomegranate juice company. It seems that POM was using a lab that tested on animals, killing them in the process. And eventually they issued a statement saying they would cease using that particular lab and find a place that is no-kill.

The common thread here… even the littlest words have power. Most of you reading this are writers, and all of you write. Sometimes our lives get a bit overwhelmed and we may not have the time to write those 1,500 words a day on our new novel that we had hoped. Stop fretting about that and do what you can. Use your words for good. Share a bit of love with someone. Write a letter to your grandparent or mother, father, sister, brother, son or daughter. Write a note to your friend inviting them out for a coffee or tea. Write an email to your local congressional representative about something that concerns you or to a company that is doing something unjust that needs correcting. Write a comment to me letting me know anything you want me to know. The big projects will get done eventually if you persevere, but don’t let the thought of what you haven’t done yet engulf your life. Do what you can when you can. Even small sentences can make a difference. Watch...

I love you.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Red Sky at Morning

The prompt at MammaKat this week -
4.) Share the best picture you took
last month and explain why it's your favorite.

So here is a shot I thought was amazing. Yes, it is not in perfect focus, but oh my, look at that sky. I love this time of year when I leave for work right before sunrise. This is about a block from my house and I was driving about 40 mph and had to roll the window down to get a shot, find my camera in my purse and take the shot before running the red light. I thought the men on the roof there made the shot even more interesting.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Me & More Me

I Am: a contradictory juxtaposition of complications... really... I am

I Want: often... today I want to go for a bike ride, but hubby is sick, suppose I could go by myself, but that isn't much fun

I Have: too many little dogs who misbehave... have to stop going to the pound, such a sucker for their poor little sad faces

I Wish: every day... something different, today's... hmmm... haven't made it yet

I Fear: this post will be cliché or just annoying... go ahead, you can tell me, I will only cry a little

I Hear: hubby snoring... poor sick baby with a snuffly nose

I Search: for clean clothes... maybe I should wish for a laundry elf

I Wonder: how long I will have to put up with Norv Turner as coach for my Chargers... yes, MY... if you are a fan, they are always My team

I Regret: that third cinnamon roll this morning... so didn't need that extra one, yeah, ok, extra two

I Love: all the time... and easily, and sincerely, and completely

I Always: take every kiss offered to me... and hubby is good at offering kisses

I Usually: forgive... holding onto hate is too much effort

I Am Not: meant to be thin... hubby likes my bottom, I like hubby, seems to work better than that diet

I Dance: every single day... one of my wedding vows

I Sing: so very badly... except when I have had those Long Island Iced Teas and someone says... ohhh, let's Karaoke, I know I sing so great then

I Never: have sky dived, mountain climbed, scuba dived... but I would

I Rarely: frown ... I like being happy

I Cry: when my children hurt... but they are strong and independent so far, so good

I Am Not Always: what I seem... but only because some only see what they want me to be

I’m Confused: not at the moment... but maybe tomorrow will be stranger

I Need: not a whole lot, life is decently good... knock on wood

I Should: do some laundry... but really think I can put it off for just a bit more

You and more you... what are your answers? Do let me know if you post this meme on your blog.

Thank you to Heather for her wonderful answers to all of these on her blog was an interesting challenge to take on.


Prompt at Mama's Losin' It - Choose a poem you like. Take the last line and use it as the first line of your own poem.

A poem Kay shared with me once that always moves me - Oranges by Gary Soto - and it has a wonderful last line... I was making a fire in my hands.


I was making a fire in my hands.
The surge of my heartbeat
pushed pulsing heat down into fingertips
and I held my hands out to him. Fire smoldered.

Hot and hotter still they burned
with the need to be filled
with something I could not name.
I could not say, give it to me. Fire flared.

He looked down into the offered palms, confused.
I knew then he did not see the flames there.
The aching burn that was growing all consuming
all denial and desire and something more. Fire burned.

There in my upturned hands was an open plea
to make me whole again, make me complete;
but he did not understand to quench the unseen fire
I only needed his cool touch. Fire consumed.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Reaper

The prompt at Daily Writing Practice today was... The Reapers. I rather like how this poem turned out so thought to share it here too. If you haven't visited Marc's site he always has some interesting prompts and if you are a writer stop by and spend a minute being creative (after you write at Picture, Poetry & Prose of course).


The sickle slices
against the ripened wheat.

Grass of life falls
row upon row.

Back breaking work
that tears at a soul.

He stands, stretching;
body’s grown tight.

He looks to the west
the sun descends

lower and lower still.
Night will come

before the work is through.

Monday, January 12, 2009

This I Believe - Inviting

I was driving home tonight listing to NPR (National Public Radio) and heard a great essay on their series, This I Believe, Inviting The World to Dinner. If you click on the link you will hear it told in the author's own voice. Also note on the NPR Website there is a place to offer up your own This I Believe essay, and I know some of you reading this are damn fine writers.

The thing that struck me was that this was, in a way, what I wanted to do when I created Pictures, Poetry & Prose. I wanted to invite new friends to offer up themselves creatively, to find relationships with their words as they shared with others from all over the globe. I wanted my invitation to be open to any one who wanted to drop by. I wanted the place I created to be inviting and welcoming, a place where people felt comfortable to offer up precious pieces of themselves.

I hope if you decide to share there or if you do already you will feel some of this sense of a welcoming community that I want PP&P to be for you.

My house isn't big enough to have dinner parties every Sunday for more than three people. But if you are ever in Southern California and want to meet for coffee, anytime at all, let me know. Friends are precious and you're definitely a friend.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Really Hot Plastic

Did you know the little black box that is connected in-between where you plug the power cord into the wall and where the plug goes into the laptop gets really hot when it accidentally gets trapped under a pillow that is being laid on by a dog? Did you know the smell of really hot plastic is a little disconcerting coming from under a pillow being laid on by a dog? Did you know when the little black box connecting the cords together gets really hot and smells like really hot plastic the cord stops working and you begin to loss power as no more electrictity is flowing?

Yeah, well I do know... maybe I will see you tomorrow.

Movie Idea

Love Story meets Toy Story meets Romancing the Stone... with elephants.

Anything is possible in Hollywood.
Better suggestion?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thank you Uncle Charlie

In the summer of my twelfth year I spent July and August with my grandparents in Iowa. I was a gangly awkward twelve. A too tall girl with straight brown hair and a stoop to my shoulders that my mother was determined to poke out of me. (Literally, she would walk up behind me and with her middle knuckle jab me in the back.) I was uncomfortable in my maturing body and unsure of my growing mind.

My uncle came to my grandparents to visit for a week. Just ten years older than me he seemed so very grown up. He was going to college at the time and was the strangest character in my family of strange characters. Uncle Charlie was flamboyant and loud. He took acting classes and sang classical music. He played the piano beautifully and loved to tickle me until I would nearly pee my pants. I loved him, I believe now he tolerated me. I was after all a pain-in-the-behind twelve-year-old niece to his then oh-so-very-mature 22-year-old man.

The week he came to visit there was a one-man play just opening. He got us tickets. Just for the two of us. Thinking back I am sure Grandma probably made him. (See he wasn’t so old that he still didn’t have to take orders from mom.) Grandma took me shopping and I got a pretty white dress with spaghetti straps and sandals with heals. I stood up straight for the first time since my horrible growing spurt just six months earlier.

We went to dinner first and I ordered from the real menu (as opposed to the Kid’s Menu). Little breaded shrimp and a steak and a baked potato, oh to feel so grown up. Then we walked the block and a half to the fancy old theater in downtown Dubuque. I hadn’t really cared about what we were seeing, just that something exciting was happening in a boring Iowa summer. We took our seats and the house lights went down and for the next ninety minutes I was enraptured. The play was one actor on stage as Mark Twain. He talked about life with wit and a bit of sarcasm, read from various pieces of literature I had never before been exposed to and opened my mind to telling tales. It was wonderful.

I asked to be taken to the library the next day. I checked out several Twain books. Something so different, to be whisked away by words. And I read, and I read, and I read. A love of literature burned in me suddenly. From that moment on there has always been a book on my nightstand. I am always reading something. And from that love of reading has grown the need to write and share my own views and stories.

Thank you Uncle Charlie.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tainted Legacy

Tainted Legacy:
The Story of Alleged Serial Killer Bertha Gifford
by S. Kay Murphy

"On August 25, 1928, a black sedan pulled into the dusty circular driveway of a farmhouse in the tiny rural community of Catawissa, Missouri. The sheriff of St. Louis County emerged from the vehicle and walked slowly up the front steps. A middle-aged farmwife answered his knock. She spoke quietly with him, excused herself to powder her face, then allowed herself to be led outside and taken away. Authorities sought to question her in a mystery which had been building for twenty years: Was she a selfless saint who voluntarily cared for the acutely ill in order to nurse them back to health and restore them to their families, or a minister of death whose crimes would qualify her as America’s first female serial killer? In this riveting nonfiction memoir, S. Kay Murphy recounts the tale of searching for the truth about her great-grandmother—accused murderer Bertha Gifford. "

This is from the just released book written by my good friend Kay. I have my copy ready for her to sign when I see her at our next writing group meeting. If you are interested in this book you can order easily from Amazon.com. I just love 1-Click shopping at Amazon, but it can get dangerous with my addiction to books. Click, click, click... three new books this week.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Melancholy, Morose & Miserable Blog

After talking with a friend about blogging recently the subject came up about why he did not want to blog.

Because, he offered, when he would have discussions with people, maybe a nice dinner with a friend and ask them about _____ they would reply, well I wrote about it on my blog. And it was clear, that by not reading ever single self important narcissistic word (hey wait, that might be me too), he had disappointed them mightily.

Ok, so, first thing I vow here and now, never to say that. Though I do admit when we talk and I have written a poem or short story, I might poke around a bit to see if he has read it. Well, I know that is my hugely stroke needing writer's ego. But I never claimed to be perfect.

But even my mother doesn't read my blog on a regular basis... MOMMMMMMMM.... if you are reading this leave a damn comment so my delicate daughter ego is stroked.

He also felt he had nothing good in his life right now. Life pretty much sucks a good portion of the time, sometimes. I mean, we all have days, weeks, months (yikes) even years, where Murphy moves in to our spare bedroom and makes sure everything that can go wrong does.

So, I have added an additional blog to my own personal blogisphere (yeah, I did, stop scolding I have time didn't you see on The One Minute Writer today, the prompt is about Making Time, it must be possible, just need the right alchemy) Despair, Devastation & Dysfunction - http://desdevdys.blogspot.com/ . So I invite any and all to become contributors, just email me your Google email and I will add you, (even you, you cheery optimist you, I know you have days you want to rant about something.) :)

Juicy Watermelon

We spent the weekend up at Mom & Dad's in the mountains. It was lovely cold and still quite a bit of snow on the ground. Living in Southern California you get to miss the seasons quite a bit, so having a few days of actual winter is nice. We played a lot of cards, Rummy and Canasta. Martha wrote a bit about that the other day.

Did the pottery painting again, two reasons, gets us out of the house for a while. Love my mom, but we can get a little... well... we push each other's buttons sometimes. And because it is fun, and Hubby will do it with me. He picked a mug to paint too, his is blue and gold (go Chargers!!). He is a sport nut and not a craft nut, so I really appreicate him doing these silly things with me.

This is my mug. I really like how it turned out. The little seeds inside were so much harder than I thought, spent 20 minutes with a teeny-tiny brush just painting little black seeds. It is a fairly big cup, more for soup, or maybe hot chocolate, since I don't drink coffee.

Four days off work was entirely lovely. But back to work I went yesterday. Much to do for year end. Sigghhh.... isn't it time to retire yet?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Site

I do so love finding a new writing site that inspires me to create. This morning it is this site - Daily Writing Practice.

I wrote to the prompt to write four line poem with this as the inspiration... walking in a winter wonderland.

So here is my offering to the prompt this morning -

for only a moment
this is all there is
cold, white, breath taking
wrapped in silent peace

Thursday, January 1, 2009


I loved the prompt at The One Minute Writer today asking which resolution will I NOT be making because I would just break it anyway. So I offered up this little bit of my anti-resolution.


Wine is fine
Chocolate is lovely
Oh, and bread
and cheese and
meat, how I love
a thick filet
and baked

Yes, I could ride
my bike.
Yes, I could walk
the miles.

But I won't.

I won't give up
delicious food.
I won't excercise,
even when I know
I should.

I will love,
I will live,
I will laugh.

I will be happy
and moderately healthy.