April Flow!

yellow tulips

April makes me think of the color yellow and it means wisdom. Wisdom reminds us that  life moves in cycles.  There are many beginnings and endings during this time.

Winter has drawn to a close. Flowers bloom, dogwood trees show forth their colorful beauty and lawns of green are spread across the earth’s floor. Birds sing sweetly as they coax us out of bed in the morning with their heavenly songs. Woodpeckers tap away on some private project and mourning doves make low, sad woeful sounds. We are made aware of the newness and freshness of life after long periods of silence and dormancy.

April also signals the end of things. There are many memorable dates of passings during this month and both President Lincoln and William Shakespeare immediately come to mind. Their missions were complete and they left a host of footprints in the sand. The pebbles that they threw upon the path make it that much easier for those of us in search of our own individual purposes.

Everything moves in cycles and just like entering into a revolving door, timing is essential. We must learn to synchronize our movements so that we can flow into the right spheres and land in the right place at the right time.

The scriptural verse from Ecclesiastes gently reminds us:

To everything there is a season,
And a time for every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted…
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance.”

Flow with ease!

Lynn M.                                                                                                      April 22, 2017

Fruits of Our Labor

Fruits of laborThe other day, I saw my students that I taught a year ago.  I checked the calendar and the classes began exactly a year ago to date.  Time flies and I realized that we had not seen each other in a  year.

Their reactions ranged from OMG to I miss you.  They were happy to see me and I was equally happy to see them.  The reunions were brief and in passing, we said our Hello’s and How are you’s?

I heard a couple of them tell others, “She gave me an A.”  I silently thought, “No.  You earned an A.  You followed my directions and you fulfilled the bill.  You adhered to the guidelines as you walked the walk and talked the talk, so to speak.  You stayed the course and you crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s.”

But I just smiled in acknowledgement as they discovered their own potential and self-worth.  They had followed my lead and as an educator, I can inaudibly sigh, “Mission Accomplished.”

When we are given a task to do, we often have private feelings of uncertainty as well.   We educators also get butterflies in our stomachs the night before we meet a new group of students.  We hope that we can successfully usher the train of students into that final stop which is the end of the term.

Once, we have all safely arrived, will those that have been transported be filled with resentment?  Will they hate to see the conductor coming? Or will they disembark and leave the train platform filled with joyous memories?

Fortunately for me, I saw waves and smiles which symbolized fond remembrances.  I was warmed as I celebrated the fruits of my labor.

I then saw the teacher who had been out on maternity leave. She had entrusted her students to me last year and when she told me that her daughter is now a year old, all I could say was, “My, my, my.”

Lynn M.                                                                                     April 15, 2017

Digital Marketing

The other day, I further stepped into the 21st century by using another facet of digital marketing for my books.  I had joined Twitter, obtained an author website and regularly blog through Word Press but I had not figured out how to use the popular site You Tube.

So, I finally did a little research on how to make a video with my limited equipment.  I saw that I could use the camera and microphone on my Smartphone or tablet. Then, I sat up a display showing the cover of the book.  I propped it up and used some fabric as a backdrop.

The biggest challenge was holding the phone or tablet focusing on the cover and speaking into the microphone.  Then, I had to use the other hand to hold the book from which I was reading.

I felt like The Cat in the Hat when he was riding a bike, balancing a fish bowl and an umbrella.  He finally fell but I was fortunate enough to balance it all as I made seven audio readings.

They are not perfect but life is not either.  So, I accept the imperfections and it is a start in the use of You Tube. It is the beginning of my use of another form of media that is wildly popular today. Baby steps, baby steps, I reminded myself.

After recording, there was the task of uploading.  I looked up a how-to video and my teacher was probably about ten, but she gave good instructions.  Even though each reading is about two minutes, it took about two hours to upload one video.

Yet, each was well worth the wait.  It was rewarding to hear myself read my own works.  Only the author knows exactly how certain conversations were intended to sound.

There are no perfections, shortcuts nor pat answers in life. It’s just one brush stroke at a time like a painter takes until there is a finished product.

Push play and listen to my reading from A Golden Leaf in Time Revised– the first in a series of five about Tyre and Phoenix.

 

Lynn M.                                                         April 8, 2017

Stay Upon the Wall

painting

Have you ever found yourself running your race with such a sense of purpose that you lost track of the miles?  Perhaps you were so busy laying down the tracks that you did not realize what you were accomplishing.

And then you reached a destination or a pit stop and you paused and turned around and said to yourself, “Wow!”   You could not believe the body of work you produced nor the abundant fruits of your toil and labor.

It reminds me of a children’s book called  Anansi the Spider.  Anansi often got into trouble and  his seven sons would go to his rescue.  Each had a unique gift and they combined their efforts to save him on several occasions.  The son Road Builder comes to mind because he had to build the road so that they could travel to help their father.

Review some of those pet projects and you too may find yourself saying, ‘Aha.’  Pause and take a look at what you have already done. Whether it is painting, writing, carpentry, speaking or teaching, to name a few, you should never totally rest on your laurels. However, it never hurts to give yourself a pat on the back and acknowledge what you have been able to get done.

Like Nehemiah in the Bible, you should stay upon the wall because there is too much work to do.  You don’t have time to lose focus and come down and hang out with the naysayers.  Keep your tempo, pace yourself and run your race like no one else.  Create what you can and leave those footprints in the sand by staying upon the wall!

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12: 1

Lynn M.                                                                                                       April 1, 2017

 

Autobiographies

MeGoodreads often asks its members, ‘What are you currently reading?’  I just finished reading Me: Stories of My Life by Katharine Hepburn.  There is nothing like an autobiography.  No one says it better than the person who actually lived the life!

I always admired Katharine Hepburn when I was growing up.  She was one of my role models and I liked her spunk, her pants outfits and her self-assured knowingness.  She had her own unique style.

In the book Me, she talked about her childhood years in Fenwick, CT on through her college days at Bryn Mawr. She showed the great influence her loving family had on building her strong self-esteem.

She was often in the midst of famous people as she climbed the ladder to fame as an actor. Her father managed her money. He never believed that she could really make a living in the field, but fate proved him wrong.

It was a great journey as she shared many highlights of her life and bared her soul. She added a host of photographs that helped the reader feel even closer to her, her friends and her business associates.

And then, she devoted a couple of chapters to her beloved Spence, Spencer Tracy. He seemed to draw out the best in her and they enjoyed each other’s company immensely.

Autobiographies, like poems, give readers a peek into a writer or poet’s soul.  Poems do it quickly and in a few words, whereas autobiographies take us on a long, slow walk through the woods. We eventually arrive at various destinations with the narrator guiding the way.

In elementary school, I often visited the biography section of the library.  There was a series of little blue books on the lives of great people. I liked to read their stories and discover what events shaped them.

Yet, nothing can touch the fascinating autobiography itself. There are no battles over whether it is  Authorized or Unauthorized.  It is a bonafide account and the story just rolls along like a river.

Here are a few  memorable ones:

In The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Franklin shared his humble beginnings in Boston, his move to Philadelphia and later on to England.  As life would have it, he came back to the States and did his greatest work in Philly.  He assisted in the founding of public libraries, fire departments, and in the wording of the Constitution along with many other accomplishments.

Ida B. Wells’ autobiography, Crusade for Justice, showed how she fought for other’s rights in the Deep South.  I felt as if I was in a room with her, witnessing what she felt, saw and experienced through those challenging times.

And then there is Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk.  He wrote a touching account about his childhood as a Jackson, his musical journey and his savvy business acumen at the young age of 19.  Reading it was like reading a long tender-hearted letter.

Autobiographies are truly personable. It takes the candid voice of the owners of the shoes to walk us down their paths of splendor!

Lynn M.                                                                                              March 25, 2017

Flashlight on the Good!

flashlight

In every experience just like in a room, there is light and dark.  Even in the darkest room, there is always a glimmer of light.  We should let up the shades, let in the light and not focus on the dark corners of gloom.

Think about any place, person or thing -notably the definition of a noun.  What do you remember about a particular noun from your past?

If it was a relationship that eventually ended, what are your dominant thoughts about that time?  If it had longevity, obviously there was some good.  Did it produce a child, some laughter, a few special keepsakes or a host cherished photographs?

If it was a job experience, ask yourself what remains?  Are there memories of fun office parties, friendships that were formed or possibly promotions to the next level?

Maybe it was a thing, like a couch or old car?  How many hours of usage did it produce?  Did you finally get rid of the couch because it  became saggy from use?  Maybe that old car had so many miles on it that the speedometer stopped working.  Perhaps, you even extended its life by dropping a new engine in it before saying goodbye.

All scenarios have lights and darks.  It is what you choose to remember about that experience.  From which vantage points are you viewing those persons, places and things?

Shine the flashlight on the good that remains. Extinguish the darkness and turn up the candle to see the overflowing blessings.

It’s all in how you look at it,” from “Angles” Traveling Streams- Lynn M. Dixon

March 18, 2017                                                   Lynn M.

Gender Writing

Symbols

Have you ever had the challenge of trying to write in the voice of one of the opposite gender?  Would it pass the litmus test? Would your readers of that gender agree that you successfully pulled it off?

Women are often more emotional and men seem to subdue what they are feeling. It is the writer’s task to really try to capture that other voice.

Here are some things that have helped me to write about the other half.  I listen to their conversations and notice how they think.  Ask yourself what do they think about?  What holds their interests?  How do they handle their emotions?

After you have tried to write in the other gender’s voice, how do you know if you sounded authentic? Perhaps, have someone of that gender read your work and see if automatic discussions arise which means you were believable.

Try reading more works written by the other gender. This will give you more insight into what intrigues and mystifies them.

I must admit that I have been guilty of reading works, mostly written my women.  I caught myself because one of my main characters is male and I really need to make sure that what he is thinking and feeling sounds masculine.

Recently, I read a book called Saffire by Sigmund Brouwer.  It dealt with the building of the Panama Canal and it was obvious that this author was fascinated by this project.  He talked about the massive movement of the concrete pieces, the multiple teams of men and the management of it all. The many political power plays dominated his thought and he even added a zing of romance to the formula.

I  gathered that Brouwer was highly interested in domination and power and the possible rebellions against the foreigners on the land. This canal connected the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and whoever controlled the canal, controlled the world.

Have you ever seen men looking at others work at a construction site?  I have seen them spend their entire lunch time watching the process of building.  Think about that.  Go where the men hang out, if you are a female writer and you will learn more about how they think, what they discuss and what holds their interests.

Then you may be able to crawl inside their heads long enough to develop that character from the other gender.  Eudora Welty said, “To imagine yourself inside of another person is what a storyteller does in every piece of work.”  

La bonne écriture!

Lynn M.                                                                                                                    March 11, 2017

Cruising!

relax

Have you ever been down into gravely thinking?

Have you ever felt that you were wrapped in a dark cocoon that emitted little light? 

Or perhaps, you have been impatient with a friend or relative who’s been  feeling low.

Either way, remember that only thinking makes it so.   It makes it seem so real that the darkness can permeate your entire being and high hopes appear to be a mere dream.

What do you do?  What can you do?

  • First, arise.  As the saying goes, rise up in your thinking. 
  • Lift up your thoughts like a space shuttle shooting towards the sky.
  • Brush yourself off.  Put on a special garment or hat to spruce up your spirits.
  • Go for a walk and let the air blow the cobwebs out of  your mind.
  • Have a good meal.  You really do think clearer on a full tummy.
  • And for sure, put on some of your favorite music.

Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire said, “I see music as medicine.”

And guess what?  Your thoughts will stand as tall as the rooks on a chessboard and they will sustain you, support you and spring you to new heights.  They will become your high priests and before long, you will be able to cruise right over that mountain!

Lynn M.                                                                              March 4, 2017

Motifs!

waterfall-2

Turn on the words and let them flow,
Just like a fountain spilling low.

Let them all splatter on the floor,
Mop them up and there will be more.

Pressing images on the mind,
Through messages, one at the time.

Readers run with a net and gloat,
Packing them in a bag and float.

Travel through words and motifs sent,
To worlds of painted enchantment!

Lynn M.                                                                                                             February 25, 2017

A Writer’s Task

Cherry Monte Blanc

Can you write about a place that you visited and make the readers feel as if they traveled along?

Can you make them see the places, the trees and the shapes of the buildings?

Do they feel the warmth of the sun or the depression brought on by the overcast clouds?

Can they taste that hot baked cod-fish that was just served by the stately waiter?

Do they enjoy the laughter of the children that are playing on the beach?  

Did they also see the sizes of the sand castles?

Will they feel like a small turtle that was secretly hidden in your luggage that enjoyed every nuance of the trip?

Will they want to book a flight so that they too can see, feel, hear, touch and smell the aromas of that place?

Or, will they feel satisfied with the vicarious experience  provided by  your descriptive words?

If you can successfully transport your readers to another space and time, then label yourself as a good writer!

Lynn M.                                                                 February 18, 2017