Three Quote Challenge: Day Two

For Day Two I have chosen:

whitman

This is great advice for everyone, especially young adults who are deciding on a college major or career path. Most of us spend the majority of our lives working in a field we choose as young adults. For this reason, I believe that deciding on a career that gives you joy is crucial.

As a family nurse practitioner, I’ve enjoyed my job in healthcare for 18 years. To me, there’s nothing that brings greater pleasure than helping others.

I often have people ask me, “Why didn’t you work as an artist instead of a nurse?” or “Why didn’t you go into music? You’re so talented.” The truth is I would’ve enjoyed jobs in a number of fields and I considered them all. Had my mother not passed away suddenly when I was 18, I probably wouldn’t have considered a path in nursing.

The day of her death, I walked into the kitchen, overcome with shock and grief. There, on the wall, I noticed a plaque of her favorite phrase When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. In that moment, I wanted to smash the plaque to smithereens. How could any good possibly come from such a horrible event?

When I returned to college a couple weeks after her death, I found myself reading medical journals trying to find answers to why my mother had died so unexpectedly. Even the doctors couldn’t explain it. I had an extreme desire to understand exactly what had happened and I developed a thirst for medical knowledge as a result. So, I read… constantly. That semester, I changed my major to nursing and it was the best decision I ever made.

In each of my patients I see my own mother, my own family. I feel their pain and have tremendous empathy for their suffering, but also their joy. For me, each life I save and patient I help just makes more lemonade out of that lemon.

And besides, who ever said I couldn’t be a nurse and an artist, composer, or author? I enjoy them all. So here’s to Walt Whitman – do anything, but let it produce joy!

My three nominated bloggers for today are:

Abigail

Stella

Liz

 

Three Quote Challenge

Millie Thom, author of the Sons of Kings trilogy, has nominated me for the Three Quotes Challenge and I do love a good challenge so here goes…

The rules are quite simple:

  1. Post on 3 consecutive days
  2. Pick 1 or 3 quotes per day
  3. Challenge 3 different bloggers per day
  4. Thank the blogger who nominated you

Since this is my first challenge and I’m new to blogging, I’ll keep it simple and post 1 quote per day. For Day One I have chosen Emily Brontë:

Bronte

I was 16 years of age the first time I read Wuthering Heights and I distinctly recall getting goosebumps after reading that passage. What a profound proclamation of soul-bound love! The idea of a soulmate was novel to me then, but it struck me as a beautiful concept even if it only existed in literature.

Now as a writer, I interpret the statement as more esoteric than simply a statement of romantic love. As an author I often create characters that resemble nothing of myself, yet the characters are no less a creation of my own imagination. In that sense, they are a part of me. Yes, even the nasty antagonists.

I often wonder if this quote was as much a reflection of the inseparable bond Brontë felt toward Heathcliff as her own creation. If you are a writer, do you feel this connection with your characters as if they are an extension of your own being? Even if they are malignant villains? If not, why?

I pose the same question for songwriters, composers, and artists. Do you feel your musical or artistic creations are a connected extension of yourself?

My three nominated bloggers are:

Stan Stewart

LA Edwards

Katy Nika Raet

Thank you Millie Thom! I’m enjoying the challenge!

 

Most Embarrassing Moment of My Life

By Snow Brooks

I was only 14 years old when my mother and I traveled to Europe as American tourists. Our first stop was a 2 week stay in London and Mom had already given me the When in Rome, do as the Romans lecture. For months before our departure she’d preached the etiquette of each country to ensure I was properly prepared and wouldn’t embarrass myself with some cultural faux pas.

Twelve days in London and I had managed to blend in well! No one suspected I was American until I opened my mouth and my Southern drawl made it blatantly obvious. As long as my lips were sealed, I had everyone fooled or at least I did until I met the Piano Man.

You see, Piano Man wasn’t your run-of-the-mill musician. He was a pianist at one of the swankest restaurants I’d ever set foot in. All decked out in tuxedo and bow-tie with manicured salt and pepper hair that looked like it took days to perfect.

As Mom and I dined, I became enamored with the guy’s performance. His fingers danced across the keys with effortless grace and, as a 4th generation pianist, I appreciated his abilities. Mom was a pianist too and understood why I kept gawking at Mr. Mozart and his flying fingers.

It wasn’t just his talent that had my attention. While he performed, Piano Man would sway and lean toward me, the weird girl who kept staring at him, and flash his pearly whites.

Was he playing just for me now? Perhaps he could see how much I appreciated his musical abilities.

He grinned again just before flowing into a new song. An American song! Yes, Mr. Piano-dude was definitely playing this one for me! He must have overheard the twang of my accent.

There was a glass globe with money next to him, so I strolled over and tipped the gentleman. His smile widened as he continued playing my song. I was so honored that I decided to sing the lyrics to show my appreciation.

I began, “My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.”

Why was Piano Man frowning?

I went on, “Land where my fathers died.”

Why was Mom making cut-throat gestures?

“Land of the pilgrims’ pride,” my voice trickled off, sounding more like a question.

Why were one hundred angry eye-balls of fellow diners glued to me?

I cringed, press my lips together, and skulked back over to my chair.

Mom’s face was beet red. “What on Earth are you doing?” she chastised.

“I was singing.  America. You know,” I explained with an innocent shoulder-shrug.

“That’s not America,” she breathed through ventriloquist teeth. “Here, it’s God Save the Queen!” she informed, hiding her eyes behind a palm.

“Oh,” I sunk into my chair, feeling like the one who needed saving.

 

Why Writers Drink

By Snow Brooks

When I was young, I thought novelists were quirky hermits who lived in log cabins tucked far away from the prying eyes of civilization – pecking out stories on dusty typewriters with only their cups of coffee and a cat to witness. How else could they get all those pages organized into complete stories if they socialized in the modern world?

Besides, I’d never actually met a novelist in person. They were like Big Foot – rumors of a sighting here and there, but never was I lucky enough to lay eyeballs on one. In fact, the first author I met was the one staring back at me in the mirror when I completed my first novel.

As I studied that reflection, I realized I didn’t fit the bill for my idea of a novelist. As a family practitioner working full-time with 3 lively daughters and a distracting husband who could make me laugh with a glance, I didn’t exactly ooze author. There was no hermit lifestyle. No cats. No typewriter. No log cabin… dammit. But I did guzzle a mean cup of coffee.

So how did I morph into this mythological creature I call a writer? Oh, it was simple. I woke up one morning, hands on hips, and said, “I’m gonna be a novelist!” That’s how we all made our grand debut in the literary world, right?

Okay, maybe it didn’t happen exactly like that. The truth is I awakened one morning and thought, that dream was so nutty, I gotta write it down.

I mean I’d had some crazy dreams before, but this one took the cake! It was one of those goes-on-all-night sorts with crisp imagery and lengthy conversations. In a fit of inspiration, I got out a pencil (tool we used before texting kids) and I wrote it all on a sheet of notebook paper.

After a few pages I noticed I was, how should I say, embellishing some of the details to help the story flow from one scene to the next. It was all just for shits and giggles until I became hooked. Sigh. More like obsessed! The little dream turned into a 90,000 word novel in a few months.

When I finished editing, I tucked the manuscript in a drawer, smacked my hands clean, and marched off without another thought. You see, I didn’t write it with the intention of having it published. I had a job. I wrote it because it was a fascinating story that I didn’t want to forget.

The real problem began a few weeks after I finished the damn thing. When I went about my daily routine, I missed the writing. Rather, I grieved it. Seriously.

The joy of being immersed in a world of my own creation, one that I could control with some wild imagination and keystrokes was like discovering I’d sprouted wings and could fly. I wanted it back and I missed the characters who’d become a part of my life in those months. It was then I understood why writers write – it’s a bloody blast!

After completing my 3rd novel, my friends and family started asking if and when I planned to publish the books. Apparently, writing novels for my own pleasure without publishing is like baking wedding cakes and not sharing them with the wedding parties. The scandal! To appease them, I researched the process of publishing and soon learned why writers drink.

If you’re new to the process of query letters, synopses, literary agents, and waiting weeks for replies, let me tell you – it would drive St. Peter to the bottle! One month in and I popped my first cork of red wine. Hell, I may even start feeding the stray cat scratching at my door.

Synopsis: The Bane of an Author’s Existence

By Snow Brooks

Nothing sends us writers to the brink of unbridled insanity like the universally loathed novel synopsis. I could more easily squeeze my motherly hips into the size 6 jeans still hanging in my closet (I refuse to give up the dream), than condense an 80,000 word novel into a tiny 1 page package.

Yes, it’s difficult and laborious work, resulting in many colorful profanities along the way. But an impossible feat? No. It’s just not our idea of a good time. We’d rather spend our days creating intriguing characters and losing ourselves in our own little creative worlds.

That being said, synopsis writing is a necessary evil in the path to publishing. If you’re seeking representation by a literary agent, mastering the art of summarizing your work into 1 to 8 pages (depending on the agent’s requirements) is crucial.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of confusion among authors on which approach to take when writing a synopsis. Generally, it’s recommended that you have both a short and long version of your synopsis available for submission. As literary agents become busier, they want to read more concise synopses that convey the points of the story quickly.

For some helpful tips on writing a synopsis see http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/get-published-sell-my-work/your-guide-to-an-effective-novel-synopsis