The Write Tools

Hooptedoodle

Where were you on 9/11? September 10, 2010

My husband and I were talking last night about impact events. An impact event is a moment never lost in the stream of daily minutia. That is why we celebrate and mourn them; weddings, births, deaths, national tragedies…we feel compelled as humans to venerate the day so we never forget.

My parents still remember where they were November 22, 1963, sitting in their school classrooms wondering why their teachers were to choked up to talk. On January 28, 1986 I was home sick from 6th grade, watching television at the neighbor’s house when cartoons were interrupted to watch the live Challenger launch and then explosion. I remember driving to work on April 19, 1995 sobbing in my car when the Oklahoma City bombing was reported on the radio. These days are etched on my memory as vividly as my wedding day and birth of my children.

September 11, 2001 was an impact event felt the world over. My husband and I were in a small outback town in Australia. He was there on deployment, and I had flown to meet him. Our one year old daughter was in Chicago with her grandparents, and we had called in to check on her before going to bed. His mother answered the phone and said turn on CNN, which we did…just in time to see the second plane angle to the building and plow through. I was numb. My mother-in-law was sobbing, clinging she said to our daughter. At the time she had an office in the Chicago Sears Tower. She did not go into work for days after the tragedy, because our world had gone mad and no one knew what might happen next.

My husband and I started to pack. Within 30 minutes a car was sent to get us from our hotel, and sped to the safety of base. I spent the next two days in an underground bunker with 300 Marines preparing for…for who knew what at the time. These incredibly brave men and women were mobilized, horrified, sad, even devastated perhaps…but ready and resolved. I envied them. I couldn’t stop crying and worrying. I envied them because they could do something about it, and all I could do was kneel at the base chapel alter and pray.

They began to mobilize and I had to leave. That was a surreal drive through the outback…by myself…going 120 mph (no speed limits), dodging road trains…trying to get back to Darwin to get a plane into Sydney and then perhaps home. I barely made it to Sydney. I landed at midnight, and Ansett Airlines went out of business minutes after I landed. I was fortunate to get a hotel room in Sydney, there were very few left.

The atmosphere in Sydney was so different from the week we had been there prior. It was somber, reflective and a little frightened. I will forever be indebted, as an American, to the Australian people. They were supportive and loving to what felt like an instant community of refugees. They held memorial services for us in their churches. Everywhere I went there were hugs, tears, offers of support and prayers from complete strangers.

For me, and the many Americans I met there…waiting like me to go home…getting on an airplane felt as frightening as climbing Mt. Everest. I got one of the last tickets on the first plane to leave Australia. All I wanted to do was get to Chicago and hug my daughter tight. The only ticket I could get was into Los Angeles, and then it was unknown when I could get a flight from there…but at least I would be on home soil. I guarantee you, America never felt as much like home to me as at that moment.

It took almost eight hours to get through Sydney airport security…and no one in that line cared. We wanted them to search everything. I was flying United, and the pilot and flight attendants gave instructions through tears. Strangers hugged each other and put down their books to talk with their seat mates. People shared stories, prayed together and even held hands during take off. When we finally landed at LAX, a cheer strangled through tears and sobs, went up through the plane. On man knelt on the terminal ground and kissed it when we got off the plane. We were Americans, in that small microcosm of our country, we were united.

Landing in LAX was like stepping into a war zone. National guard soliders with M-16s and police officers geared like SWAT almost outnumbered the passengers. I literally had left one country a month earlier and returned to a completely different one. Eventually I made it home to hug my baby. I didn’t let go for a long time. I was grateful though…there were a lot of mothers who would never hug their babies again.

Although we will never forget 9/11, the farther away we have moved from it, the more its lessons fade in our minds. That is why we need to venerate the day – listen to the reading of the names, remember to hug your family, pray with a complete stranger, and hold the hands of our fellow Americans in gratitude for the wonderful country we live in.

Always Remember…Where were you on 9/11? Share your story in the comments below.

Advertisements
 

NOLA December 1, 2009

My new chap book is ready for purchase! To see a preview and place an order, click on the link below. If you purchase this chapbook, I am happy to sign and number this limited edition run. **Now through December 15th you can get FREE 2nd day air shipping on THREE books. Use the promo code BUYTHREE when checking out.

By Amie Charney

 

Write Tool of the Week #2 April 17, 2008

Butt Glue.

The secret to successful writing…the secret to actually finishing the book…the key to getting published.

Butt Glue.

I am a collector of books about…well…writing books. I have quite a little library put together, most end up saying…Thanks for putting my kid through college buying this book, now quit reading a book about how to write, and just…well, write!

Write Away,  (see below for link) one of the more recent (and in my opinion, best) books on writing Elizabeth George extols the virtue of gluing one’s bum to the chair in which one sits. Pull up in front of your writing instrument of choice…and go to it straight away. She goes on to quote another author saying, “He who possesses the best bum glue wins.”

Amie’s tips to help you STICKETH:

1. Write what you want to, not what you think will sell. Write your passion and about what interests you. If you do that, you will always have something to say.

2. Write characters that you would actually like to spend a good portion of your life with. George says that “writing requires forced introspection.” Don’t avoid your life. It will help you create believable characters, who have to feel something themselves in order to become real.

3. Commit yourself to the process…for the value of the process alone. Of course we all want to be published. We are writers, why write if no one will ever read it. Don’t put the pressure of “having to publish” on yourself. Write it, because you love the characters…because the plot intrigues you. John Dalton once said, “Don’t waste your time feeling ashamed for being an unpublished author. Each time you sit alone in a room and give your most honest and complete effort, you’ve earned the title of writer.” The pressure to publish is often the number one cause of writer’s block…with that said… When you run into a block in the process Frances Itani says “Write your way through all your problems, don’t sit around thinking about them.

4. You actually have to write the darn book if you do want to get published… Authors write every day…how they account for their productivity varies…some authors work on an hours system, some on page count, some on word count… pick a way of tracking your goals so you can see how far you have come. Remember to reward yourself…and schedule in a “day off” in order to recharge. American Artist Chuck Close put it this way: “Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

5. 15 mins a day of writing will get you closer to completion than 0 mins. When people find out that I am a writer … the conversation seems to wind to them having a book they have always wanted to write…but don’t have the time. WRONG… repeat after me… I choose to have time…I choose to have time… turn off the tv (or put headphones on), screw the laundry for one day, as much as you love to read someone else’s novel (or latest book on writing) WRITE instead. We choose to be…too busy.

6.  Write for someone. Even if it is your husband, best friend, neighbor, writing group… ME…I’ll take you on. You need someone to hold you accountable to your goals. Pin their photo up next to your desk, so you can see them staring down at you 🙂

7. Last one, for every hour you sit…glued to your chair writing… balance it with adventure, fun, new experiences, people, exercise…. go into nature, or the city…or wherever inspires you. Spend time with people who inspire you. LIVE… then go write about it

I know there are more ideas and tools out there… you may have a list of your own… why don’t you comment and leave some here…let other writer’s and aspiring writer’s out there know what works for you!

To Find My Favorite Books on Writing… Guaranteed to help or at least inspire you…click on the link below. 

http://astore.amazon.com/thewritoo02-20

Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of WritingOne Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing LifeLessons from a Writing LifeWriters Talk About Beginnings, Endings, and Everything In Between

 

 

Instant Art-ification April 9, 2008

Bolero by Maurice Ravel 

My friend David sent a great quote that got me percolating. Maurice Ravel said “I did my work slowly, drop by drop. I tore it out of me by pieces.”

Instant Art-ification, is it even a “term”? If not, let it be said that I invented it. My definition, “the satisfaction one receives from creating art instanteously.” Hmmm….or something like that. Think of it as a strawberry pop tart vs. a slow baked pie bubbling out of a homemade crust. Instant Art-ification is what artists… writers… do instead of the long term, laborious, drop by drop pies-de-resistance they should be working on.  I find if I have smaller creative outlets, they allow the juices to trickle a little so I won’t dry up…but not so much that it consumes me. 

I am afraid of consumption, of having to tear words out of myself.

I fear that I don’t have enough to accomplish the size of my work. 

I fear robbing those most near and dear of my best time and imagination. Of being there, but not quite present.

Instant Artification is margarine to the butter my hips can’t handle anymore. A slightly reminiscent substitute, not as grand as the real thing, but will do for now.

So, I should be working on my book. Actually, I should be doing housework… However, since I can’t stand housework and haven’t met my writing goals for the day… I sit writing my blog. A friend suggested a blog would be a great way to develop a daily writing habit. A brilliant thought…

This blog should excuse the piles of sneering, sandy towels from last week’s beach trip and dishes that seem to pile on their own accord around an already overflowing sink…right?

This blog counts as “real writing”…right?  

This blog could excuse the daily delinquent writing goals that have been posted on the white board above my desk for the last year….right?

Blogging is writer’s crack. There is a high to having hundreds; perhaps thousands read your words and respond (sometimes almost instantly) to them. It is a snapshot of feelings, ideas, words and thoughts.  Writing my book or painting (which I love to do), on the other hand, requires vast reserves of energy and time that I feel I do not have.  As my wise husband often points out to me, I have the time. I choose to spend it on other things. I choose the pop tart over pie. I would rather have the pie, but the pop tart is so much quicker and meets the need.

A character flaw perhaps? I do the same with money… nickel and dime myself out of the things or experiences I would really like to do. I wonder what holds me back. You see, I really would rather…in the depth of my heart, live my best life and create my best art, but I seem paralyzed by the “drop by drop” process that it requires.  Ironically, I am speaking at a women’s retreat next month on living an “Overcoming Life” — conquering the fear, stress, obstacles and past waylay us…as most things in life are…easier to preach than practice.

This is just a brief musing, probably not well thought out. There are those who will knock it…there are those that will call this entry trite…there are those that will advocate the blog as high art. There are those whom will agree, and perhaps…like me… will take instant art-ification for what it is, instant satisfaction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Write Tool of the Week March 30, 2008

3 x 5 Card Bleachers - Index Card Organizer, 3 x 5 Card Organizer, Holder

If you are a writer, you MUST see the fantastic tools at Levenger (www.levenger.com). Their claim to fame is providing tools for serious readers, however I have found some great tools for serious writers as well. My favorite is their 3×5 index card wooden bleachers. Most writers I know use 3×5 cards as a staple for productive storyboarding. They are easy to write on, small enough to port around and make us look like we are actually accomplishing something. I had two big challenges with the cards (Other than writing to much on them). I would pin or (gasp) tape them to the wall beside my computer. My wonderful husband did not like the new wall decor, no matter how festive the neon bright paper was…or how productive it made me appear. My second challenge was, once attached to the wall, it was difficult to move plot points around and even worse try to detach them for a trip…(scotch tape…not pretty on painted walls) I stumbled across the answer to all my problems, Levenger’s Bleachers and 3×5 cards. The bleacher is made from high quality wood in two colors (dark and light cherry), is stylish and has storage in the back for extra cards and pens. I can easily tote it around. If I could suggest anything to Levenger it would be a carrying case to protect the wood, because mine shows the battle scars of travel. I am thinking of buying another so I have one that moves and another that looks pretty on my desk.

Storyboarding on it is a breeze. I can organize the cards on different levels or dedicate one of the six levels for each thread. I can keep everything about the character I am working on up, and follow their logline. I like the tactile feeling of moving the cards, more concrete than cyberspace. How you use it is up to you! I purchased their blank window 3×5 cards. They are pricier than the office supply stores, but I like the heavier quality and ultra bright white color of their cards. I found it easy to customize my character, plot and setting card templates onto them. They also printed through my ink jet without a problem. Levenger has also created organizers, file folders and storage boxes that provide no-brainer organization to the vast amounts of cards that I produce. My biggest challenge is trying to talk my kids out of using up my stock, they love the cards too.

Levenger has great customer service and easy on line ordering from their well designed website. They also have a great catalog that I enjoy thumbing through and drooling over. If you are a writer and share an appreciation for fabulous supplies…this is the place for you… www.levenger.com

If you end up trying this out, let me know what you think!

 

Never Open A Book with Weather… January 22, 2008

Filed under: art,author,book,theater,Uncategorized,writing — writetools @ 7:47 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

The same therefore must apply to blogs. Hello world! Welcome to the Write Tools, pun most definitely intended. I hope that other writers will stumble onto this site and find at least one thing in my ramblings helpful or at least provide an amusing moment in their day. I am also hoping others are out there that color the black and white lives around us. Please don’t expect Hemingway to surface in this blog, I am hoping these epiphanies don’t have to be well thought out or crafted carefully. Life is messy revel in it! So forgive me if what follows isn’t “writerly”, it’s just me….and that’s enough, believe me. So welcome – pour yourself a nice mug of coffee, curl up with a fuzzy blanket and lets converse. Can’t wait to hear back from you.

 

 
%d bloggers like this: