The Voice

…No, not the show but the way a writer communicates with their audience. I’ve learned that very often the voice one speaks with and the voice one writes in can be totally different… or they can be one and the same. Personally, the way I write is not the way I speak. Mainly b/c I tend to be reserved and most of my dialogue happens in my head (I’m not crazy, really). I’m having a conversation or discussion and the dialogue in my head is like a page long but what comes out of my mouth could fill maybe half an index card. I find it a lot easier to convey my thoughts in writing rather than verbally. I’m a letter writer and email lover, on the journey from my brain to my mouth sometimes things seem to get lost in translation. That zinger doesn’t zing, my 50 reasons become 2 and frankly sometimes I just self-censor.  Am I going to tell someone they’re self centered and needy? Probably not. But I might write it (and I have, not in those words exactly but I think the sentiment was conveyed). Still developing my voice and evaluating the censors…

Germs, Germs…

Go away, Don’t even come another day! One week, two sick kiddos, fortunately Sydney is getting over it and catching up on sleep but then Judah loses his breakfast on the way to school this morning so I guess it’s “Tag, he’s it!” Trying to figure out from where or how these nasty germs invaded our home is futile. But it’s days like this I’m glad I don’t have to worry about calling into the office. Much respect and many blessings to every mom making hard choices and wearing many hats. This mama is tired and will return with a writing prompt next week. Oh but just one writing tidbit…Creative Alliance and CityLit present “Let’s Get It Started In Here”, a workshop with Betsy Boyd being held on four Tuesdays (Feb. 7-28) to help launch your creative writing. Disappointed that I can’t do this one but you can still register!

Friday Tantrums

Another Friday, another weekend! And I’m googling “temper tantrums one year olds.” I can’t remember if my son had tantrums at this age but my one year old bundle of sugar, spice and everything nice  has been quirking out. When she can’t commandeer her brother’s toys or get into the corner with all those plugs and cords, she goes into tantrum mode- scream, cry, fall to the floor and kick. Am I distressed? No. A bit amused? Yes. And a lot curious as I watch this little personality take form.

Today’s Prompt: (another from the Writing Resolutions workshop)
Write a break up scene using only dialogue (1 min). Then write the same break up scene describing only setting (1 min).

“Um, I think we need to take a step back.”
“I don’t know, I just need some space.”
“Well if it’s space you need, I can give you space, give you time to yourself. We don’t need to break up for that!”
“No, I just need time, time to figure out what I really want.”
“So you don’t want to be with me! Is that what you’re saying? Have I made your life so miserable that you  just can’t wait to get away from me?
“You know that’s not it! That’s not what I’m saying. I…”
“You what? What are you saying!? I don’t get this. Where is this coming from?”

They sat in the small convertible overlooking the city. It was too cold to let the top down, but he had lowered the window filling the car with the biting winter air. The muscles of his face were tense as he massaged his temples and stared out the window. She gripped the steering wheel and bit her lip as she watched him.

Spreading the word…

Happy Almost-TGIF! 
Okay, I need help.  I have joined the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society(LLS) Team in Training to help raise funds for research to find a cure and effective treatments for blood cancer. As a part of that fundraising effort I am training to walk the Iron Girl Half Marathon on April 29 in Columbia, MD. 
Why am I doing this? 
It began when I registered with the National Marrow Donor Program during my freshman year of college. My registration was due in large part to a fellow student’s battle with leukemia and the lack of African American donors, however I must admit I was also motivated by an offer of extra credit for health class.  But since educating myself about blood cancers and the donation of bone marrow, I have been compelled  to update my registry information year after year in hopes that I might one day be a match. Cancer is the number one killer of children and as a mom I’ve been moved by stories of brave little fighters, including six-year old Jasmina Anema who lost her battle with leukemia in 2010. While LLS does focus on blood cancers, the society also supports the mission of eradicating ALL cancer. 
So I’m doing this to help improve the quality of the lives of patients and families battling cancer every day. I’m doing this to honor my grandmother, Ettaphine J. Scott, who, by the grace of God, has battled and beat cancer twice. And I’m doing this to challenge my mind and body like never before. 
I’m requesting individual or business donations (tax-deductible) of any amount. Please click the link below to visit my personal fundraising page. 
Thanks for your help and support!
…and I can guarantee at least a few posts on this endeavor. It’s exciting and a little scary at the same time!:-) Let’s do this!!!

Can I just say…

I love PBS Kids! My son has been friends with Elmo, Bert, Ernie and Curious George since he was a wee toddler (yes, I am one of those TV moms- I say whatever keeps you sane and the kids entertained). I tip my hat to Sesame Street for helping him learn the ABC’s and 123’s that set the foundation for the reading and writing he does everyday. Who knows, he may take the published journey one day and credit his imaginative tales to his PBS pals. Today’s post is brought to you by the letter “A”, the number “2”, and PBS Kids…the soundtrack of a peaceful morning.

So Random

Our church is currently doing a 21 day corporate fast. We’re joining with other churches and believers to seek God and His will for this year and beyond. You can go to Awakening 21 for information about the fast, devotions, inspirational videos- it’s just a one stop shop for anyone desiring a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. Anyway as part of my fast I’m abstaining from Facebook. Is Facebook the devil? Of course not, but for me it can be a distraction and a time killer. Say I log on to accept a friend request or post a quick status update and two hours later I’m thinking where did the time go and of all the other things I could have and should have been doing. So in the span of three days I’ve received two emails from FB which in short say “Hey your friends are posting and liking all this interesting stuff. You don’t want to miss out on the fun so why don’t you log on!” I guess the site’s algorithms or something have detected my absence for the past week.  It’s temptation by email!


Hey, what do you know, I’ve posted twice in one week!  So I found another great site for writers (and readers), the Burnside Writers Collective. It’s a great collection of blogs, essays, articles and what’s even better, they want writers! They welcome and encourage writers to submit their work. So it’s nice to know that I have somewhere I can submit some of the pieces quickly filling my hard drive with a real potential for publication and a greater audience. WooHoo!

Today’s prompt:
Do a 3 minute free write based on this metaphor: “a galaxy of longing”

The sweet smell of lavender awakened her senses and released the dull gnawing void. She yearned for the only thing she so desperately wanted but constantly eluded her. Career, money, and success no longer mattered. What she wanted, what she needed, was to give life. A galaxy of longing breached by that first  gaze into her child’s eyes.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Happy Tuesday!  So “Free Flow Friday” was pre-empted by “It’s a celebration!” We celebrated our baby girl Sydney’s 1st birthday on Saturday and this mommy was consumed with all things party last week. It wasn’t even a big party, but I tend to be anal with details and so I become an obsessive thinker and planner with 50 million lists. Anyway it was a great time with family and friends.
And do you know what else was a great time? The writing workshop with Jessica Anya Blau at the Creative Alliance.  She was a great facilitator, engaging and humorous; I can imagine there aren’t many dull moments in her classes at Hopkins and Goucher. The other writers in the workshop were friendly and gracious, a very pleasant group. At different points during the 2 hour session we were encouraged to share what we’d written and I thought to myself more than once “wow he/she is good, I would read their book.” We stretched, walked backwards,  drew portraits, acted, ate chocolate and of course WROTE. We must have done ten or more writing exercises and my creative synapses were firing away, it was so exciting. There were  many good points made throughout the workshop but two that stuck out were; 1)Write from your heart, not for money, not for a particular person or audience. 2) One of our writing exercises could be the start of a great novel or short story if we would only take the time to develop and follow it through. If this workshop is any indication , I would highly recommend any writing class or workshop offered by Creative Alliance.

So for today’s writing prompt, I’m going to slightly modify one of the exercises from the workshop:

Choose a person near you or a picture of a person. Study their face, their expression, their posture, etc. Now write about that person’s sin or crime. (During the workshop we had 3 min for this exercise. I imagined that the woman I chose had witnessed a hate crime in the sixties and refused to report it due to her own prejudice)

She stood at her window, peeking through the slit in the curtains. Her living room lights turned off, as not to attract attention to the house. The street was quiet now but she had heard the old man scream, his cries for help echoing in her ears. She had reached the window just in time to see one of the boys land a punch to the old man’s head, knocking him to sidewalk.  His screams ceased as the boys kicked his small feeble body, he only attempted to shield himself from the blows. When his crumpled bloody body became still one of the boys seemed alarmed, commanding the others to stop. With one final kick ,the boys scattered up the street into the night. She knew the boys by name, could easily give an account to the police but she continued to stand at the window. She thought the old man surely must have known he would be inviting trouble by coming to this neighborhood. She waited for someone else to call the police…

Just a last thought, I know the importance of punctuation but sometimes it seems when I write I just want to throw punctuation to the wind. Somehow it feels like my progress is impeded when I have to decide between comma or no comma. But someone pointed out that in this publishing environment a misplaced comma or run-on sentence can be the difference between a yes or no to your work.  I really need to brush up on my punctuation do’s and don’ts.

Free Flow Friday

Happy Friday!! Hope this new year is off to a great start. It’s back to routine this week, school is in and vacations are over. I’m pretty excited about the writing workshop tomorrow. Do you have your tickets? If not, go to the Creative Alliance. I believe walk-ins are welcome. Also pretty excited about some “me” time tomorrow.  I looove my hubby & kids but I also love alone time; not the hermit, shut myself off from the world kind of alone but the no one calling my name or knocking on the door kind of alone.  I think my parents would agree, I was always pretty content being by myself and loved living alone in my single lady days. I just love the solitude and add a good read or writing…perfection.

Today’s writing prompt:
Create a story, poem or any piece based on this metaphor “a chapter of loathing.”

Her mirror reflects a distorted truth
Skin too dark
Hair too coarse
Nose too big
Distortion born of comparisons
Fed by erroneous standards
Created by inferior minds
Her beautiful book of Life
Interrupted by a chapter of loathing


You’re probably thinking, “Resolutions! Let’s get through Christmas first.” Well this is another kind of resolution. If you’re in the Baltimore area, the Creative Alliance is offering “Writing Resolution,” a workshop of writing exercises given by author Jessica Anya Blau on January 7, go to their site for tickets and have a look around while you’re there. In an ideal world of affordable college educations, I would go back for a masters in Creative Writing but in light of reality I’m constantly on alert for any type of writer educational opportunities. Ironically when I was working on my masters in HR Development, I had two friends majoring in Creative Writing and helped both with assignments, if I knew then what I know now…yes, hindsight is 20/20. On other fronts, I haven’t blogged recently over on Barnabas Blessings and I feel some kind of way about it, not sure. I think the Lord is trying to teach me something about writing as writing and writing as ministry. I strongly believe when you’re putting your writing (or any gift) out there as a kind of ministry or spiritual encouragement, you should be hearing from God, if not then it’s just your own glory show.  Not to say that everything you do shouldn’t give glory to God …thinking…thinking…just thinking.
I’m proud to say that I finally completed a long term goal yesterday…to de-clutter my son’s room. Who knew a 5 year old could accumulate so much stuff! Stuff he lost interest in ages ago and stuff he probably didn’t remember he had. Two little tidbits I took away from that 4 hour job: 1) Need to cut down on the fast food kid meals, those little toys just create more stuff and 2) I can no longer give, in good conscience, those little cheap birthday goodie bag toys b/c they too just create more stuff. He seemed happy, almost relieved when he walked into his new room. I’d like to think that in some sense he’s like his mommy in that he felt better without all of the clutter. So here’s to hoping that we’ve made progress in our quest to teach him it’s better to give than to receive and that life is not about “stuff.”