Friday, March 23, 2012

Today We Celebrate Puppies, the Number 7, and Helpful News

A resident cutie of Dijon, FR
Today is National Puppy Day!  Get out and celebrate by adopting one of your own through your local shelter or take the time to throw a ball for the dog you love now.  Or even post a picture of your own little fur-spreading machine. 
Skyler, my favorite spring bloom
This week I was tagged by blogger Tami Clayton to participate in the Lucky 7 Meme (and check out her previous posts about her trip to Morocco.  I have to go there).  It’s a game for writers who blog.  I’m supposed to post part of a work-in-progress.  The rules are simple:
1. Go to page 77 of your current MS/WIP

2. Go to line 7

3. Copy down the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs, and post them as they’re written
4. Tag 7 authors, and let them know
(If your WIP doesn’t have 77 pages, it would be perfectly acceptable to post 7 lines from page 7.)

As I went through the postings of other people she had tagged, and subsequently people that those people had tagged, I realized I was in a bit of a different boat.  Most of the players were fiction writers and had a thousand pages of some incredibly dramatic story of dragons and time travel (or the like) from which to choose (go ahead, follow her choices and their choices for a bit of fun reading).  However, I’m a non-fiction writer working on a piece that will be a collection of essays, so I couldn’t follow the rules exactly.

The best part about the game for me, though, was looking at my own writing through such a miniscule frame.  I pulled up many essays and counted my 7s and 7s.  And I didn’t like what I saw.  Isolating the text like that let me see so clearly how I need to rethink some aspects of my writing.  The story was good; the writing was weaker than I remember.  That said, here are the last seven sentences from a travel story I’ll share.  It’s about my experience with an unusual religious icon in Dijon, FR.  If the story ever gets accepted in a journal, I’ll give you a heads up so you can find out why I feel like I’ve been caught doing something wrong.

And then like a petty criminal worried about being caught shoplifting, I glanced around to ensure I hadn’t been seen and hurried on.

I didn’t necessarily walk away with a lighter heart or a lighter step.  I was not enveloped in a blanket of love and happiness.  I did not expect to return to our apartment and find that in the hour that I had been gone all of my family’s problems had disappeared and all the stress that had been my constant companion had flown away on the wind.  I really had no idea how I should feel after my petition to the Dijon icon or what would signal me that my prayers had been answered.  I do know that our family dinner that night at a bistro on Place de la Lib√©ration served up a good dose of conversation and laughter.  And that night for the first time I heard the sound of an owl hooting in Dijon.

Because everyone I had considered tagging in this game I found was already playing, I’m not going to list 7 more.  Instead I challenge any of my readers who haven’t yet been tagged to take up the game on your own.  Search your own writing through this tiny frame and share what you find.  Post it in the comments box or post it on your own blog site and give us the link.  Tantalize us with a snippet of your story.

Finally, I’m ending the week with a bit of this and that news-you-can-use.
-- There seems to be a new trend of employers asking you for your Facebook password before they will hire you.  In a word – DON’T.  Find out more here.

-- For my writer friends wondering about how to claim writing expenses and how to get the IRS to see your writing as a legitimate business and not a hobby, Writer’s Relief has a good starting point for you.

-- It’s time to pull out your pruning shears.   Margaret Roach, writer of the memoir and I shall have some peace there, has some good answers to the FAQs of novice gardeners on her blog, A Way to Garden.

-- If you are a fan of Frank McCourt and Angela’s Ashes, you have to listen to this NPR interview.  Diane Rehms talked with authors and critics about why his story is so enthralling and why so many people thought he had made up the whole thing when it first came out.

Share your comments about anything in the post, share a picture of your puppy, share your writing, or share any links of helpful/entertaining news.  The comments box is waiting for you.  Have a good weekend.

Read the story behind this little fellow here


Elaine Smothers said...

I'm in that lonely nonfiction boat with you, and am also writing my WIP as a collection of essays. I outlined it that way and am finding it much less intimidating than thinking in terms of writing a book. I'm sure the order will end up being rearranged & I'll need to weave the essays together, but somehow it doesn't seem quite as daunting this way.

I hope your essay gets picked up by a journal because I'd really like to read the rest of it!

And I LOVED all the adorable puppy pics!

Barbara Forte Abate said...

I'm afraid I really have to piggy-pack onto Elaine's comment and say I really really hope your essay lands with a journal because I ,too, would like to read the rest of it.

Love all the charming photos of the pooches :-D

Patricia Caviglia said...

I liked your Lucky 7 Meme very much. Amazing how a little spirituality can affect us.

Ellen Gregory said...

Heavens - that facebook story is shocking! Thanks for highlighting it!

Cora said...

Your end of week links were very interesting sites. Thanks for that. I hope you get that essay published. @corajramos

Tele said...

You give us SO much good food for thought, Julie! Thanks on spreading the word on the FB privacy; so unbelievably Orwellian. And I loved the tease of your essay, plus the notion of using the Lucky 7 game as a way to fine-tooth examine our work.

Mike Schulenberg said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing an excerpt with us. I'm curious to find out what the experience in Dijon was all about :)

brenda said...

I think this is one of the best 'tag and your it' blog awards (not sure what to call them). I am always very flattered and honored to be given an award, but it's hard to play forward because there is the picking - how do you pick, two there is the what to write about, etc., But this one is different. Anywho, enough babbling. I am fiction writer - although I blog and have written my first non-fic piece. I really enjoyed your excerpt, but it feels like such a tease. (Cute puppies, btw. I'm sure my fat cat wouldn't approve)

Jane Myers Perrine said...

I miss my dogs! Thanks for a fix today.

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