Mar 232014
 

Enough. Enough. Enough. Spring is here, as is a forecast for another 9-12″ of snow this week. I debated today about clearing the flower beds or just getting the snowblower ready for another round.

I’m hungry for the scent of sun-warmed bulbs bursting through the soil. I’m longing for splashes of color. I’m nearly delirious for days where road salt and sand are replaced by the salt and sand of the beach.

If we can’t have spring, yet. Then here’s my make-do. Daffodils. They have a softer sweet smell than the hyacinths that markets are pushing. Their color is unrepentant YELLOW, calling out the sun.

2014-03-22 18.54.38

 

For about two bucks at the market, the perfect fix. Try them!

Betsy

 

Feb 052014
 

One small step feels like one huge leap. There was no “may I?” involved.  Just a “Simon Says” … from Technorati. I’m not a Luddite, really, but the writer in me wants to … write. The author wants to have her work read. So today, I took those steps that my friends have been urging.

And as odd as it sounds, the secret word is: SB4QFP8Q9VW9

Thank you Technorati. I hope you love Between the Lines, and my creative-life-writing-blog.

courtesy of NASA

courtesy of NASA

For all others, trust me, it’s a step forward for me. See you on the other side.

 

Feb 052014
 

I don’t think too much about writing; I just do it.

“Don’t laugh at me, but I think about writing a novel.”  

My friend Alan, who I’ve known for many years, wondered if that sounded silly. I didn’t laugh. I admire anyone who has the stamina to put words to paper (computer). So we talked for a while and here’s the five rules I that I shared with Alan.

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  1. You are never too old to start writing. Alan wondered about this since he is in his late seventies. You can be too young, I think. You need some of the grit and craziness of life to get beneath your skin. If he was 17, I would have told him to live some. Folks are bound to disagree, but this is my list.
  2. No you don’t need to take writing courses. Alan wondered about this too. You do need a good grasp of language, composition and punctuation. Though I recently had a heated discussion about the Oxford comma, mostly there is a basic shared understanding of these things. For those of us who do not aspire to be the next James Joyce,  form matters.
  3. Be ready to accept feedback and criticism. I had the benefit of working as a journalist for good editors. My very first job was with The Westport News with a chain-smoking Tennessean named Lucia (Loosha) Donnelly. She had a wicked fast red pen and a smoker’s laugh. She was kind but direct in her edits. At the New York Times, it was Gerry Shanahan who both terrified me and made me write better. If you’re starting out, be willing to let folks read your work. I told Alan to try writing a scene and read it to his wife, Trish. If she didn’t laugh, he was good to go.
  4. Find a small writing group to help you work through plot issues, voice and characters. Hearing and critiquing other people’s work is an important way to learn about your own. Groups keep you honest. At some point, you need to solo but a group will get you going. I had both an annual retreat group, who are still go-to people for me, and a weekly group that was invaluable.
  5. Contrary to #3, do not get stuck in what other people tell you. If you have a story, write it.

 

p.s. my early writing for The New York Times was under by first byline, Betsy A. Percoski.

 

Jan 042014
 
What's Creative, What's Fiction?

I’ve rounded the bend on my next novel, “Neelie’s Truth,” with the publication date in sight on the horizon.  Neelie James, of my book, lives in a town much like where I grew up.  Her story is not mine–it’s not anyone but hers. Neelie sprang fully formed from my imagination. When my book is published this spring, there are those who will say “I didn’t know that happened to you.” It didn’t. In the past I’ve written about a woman who was an opera singer. Friends said “I didn’t know you sang opera.” I don’t. I did, however, do a heck [...]

Nov 252013
 
I Who #Pie

It’s the time of year when pie reigns. Pie for Breakfast Day follows Thanksgiving. Doubleheader. My family has always been the pie-suppliers for Thanksgiving.  My mother before me; now it is I who pie. My mother was a year ’round pie baker, so throwing together an assortment of pies at Thanksgiving was no big deal. I didn’t find out for many years that baking pies was considered special. At our house, it was a basic, but also a favorite dessert. Apple in the fall, strawberry-rhubarb in early summer and so on.  My favorite was pumpkin, full of ginger, allspice, nutmeg [...]

Nov 162013
 
A Swipe Away from Success

Writing is a business. Certainly you can read thousands of blogs that give voice to that perspective. With the extraordinary growth in small press and self-publishing, everyone has something to sell. That includes writers to writers and business to writers: how to sell you book; what you need to know about POD; publishing for dummies. I’m not sure if the latter exists, but I would not be surprised. Publishing has not changed all that much. A few authors command huge contracts. A huge number of authors command very modest contracts. Some people are making a living with huge numbers of e-books. [...]

Aug 042013
 
Free to be Me

One of my great friends, now gone, greatly resented when Connecticut began putting DOB on drivers’ licenses. She thought it was nobody’s business but hers.  Women of my mother’s era, and many since, are reticent about sharing their age. I’ve been aware that in the work world where I spend most of my hours, I had stopped revealing my age. How damn silly is that? Today is my birthday. I’m 63. I’m a visual person. Being born mid-century, 1950, I always pictured 2000 in big flashing letters. I would be…gulp …. 50. I could never picture what came after that. [...]

Jun 012013
 
Not Small At All

Today is my birth day. Not that birthday. I have decided to simplify and right-size my life and document it as I go. Starting today, June 1st. Today also is the birthday of Marilyn Monroe. My story starts with a color.   The official color of the day, according to Pantone and Colorstrology by Michelle Bernhardt is Daffodil. I like that a lot. See my sun? It’s shining on this new day, golden yellow, hopeful. Like a daffodil, if daffodils grew in ninety degree heat. My husband and I live in a typical house with 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths. Eight rooms [...]

May 112013
 
Mothers Aren't Mush

I get as verklempt as the next mother but Mother’s Day mushiness is  a crime against us all.  We (yes using the royal we here) are not about the ubiquitous pastel potted plants. I will miss my mother forever. I’m hoping to be a grandmother someday. I’m not immune to the idea of a morning when I get to sleep in and have coffee handed to me. But motherhood is not mush. It’s not for wimps. Here’s some of my mothering memories: Watching Abi fly sideways off a horse at a canter, scooping her up and driving her while she [...]