5 Ways To Get Rid Of Inertia In Your Life

 

by Kristin Nador/@KristinNador

*Knocking on microphone* Hello? Anyone there?

I’ve been MIA from this blog for a while. Quite a while. I haven’t touched my WIP for almost 4 months. I’ve lost my way. I could blame it on a lot of legitimate reasons. Continue reading

Organize Your Day For Maximum Writing Productivity

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photo courtesy Hustvedt, Creative Commons

By Kristin Nador/@KristinNador

Does finding time for writing leave you overwhelmed?

The tug of your creative life versus ‘regular life’ got you feeling guilty?

You’re not alone. Continue reading

Write Anywhere #66

It’s been a quiet summer here on the blog. I needed to take a break because of carpal tunnel symptoms, so I took a blog vacay through July. I geared up to start again in August, and life slapped me in the face. Instead of working on my blog editorial calendar, I ended up dealing with some sad and serious family events, and traveling across three states alone to do it. So I’ll be devoting my next 10+ Write Anywheres to my strange adventure. I hope you’ll come along and discover like I did, that you can find the fuel for creativity anywhere, in any situation, if you choose to keep your heart open and make room for it.

That Saturday morning started out great. I attended a local writing workshop and learned some great tips on writing, publishing in both traditional and self-publishing formats, and enjoyed hanging out with fellow writers. I even earned second place in a first page contest. I walked out of the workshop and into the hot afternoon feeling somewhat accomplished, so I decided to treat myself to a cool reward that took me back in time.

Write Anywhere #66: Snow Cone Shack

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I drove over to the local snow cone shack for some icy refreshment. The shacks pop up around the area throughout the summer, but there are one or two that take their snow cones very seriously, and because of that they have a strong customer following. The offerings range from traditional to weird, but people stand in line every hot Friday and Saturday night for their favorites. When I showed up on a Saturday at 3 pm, the sun baked the sidewalks and not a soul stood in line. I ordered a simple cherry limeade ice, and made my way to a picnic table under the shade of a lone tree.

Ahhh... snow cone, post-modern style

Ahhh… snow cone, post-modern style

Spooning the sweet ice from a modern styrofoam cup got me thinking about the Snow Cone Man who used to drive around my childhood neighborhood in South St. Louis so many summers ago. Playing in the heat, ignoring the sweat dripping down our necks, we’d take off toward the sound of his musical truck. We’d happily fork over our quarters for a scoop of ice in a paper cone, watching in fascination as the bright white globe took on color from the flavor sprays. The flavors back then were pretty straight forward: cherry, 7-up, and berry, which didn’t really taste like anything but made your lips a deadly blue. If you had the extra coin, you could get a bomb pop-inspired cone and have all three. Then we’d try to slurp the melting concoction down before the majority of it ended up on our hands and legs.

We always tried to catch the Snow Cone Man on Neosho Street, or Nottingham Avenue, but if he got as far as Murdoch Avenue, we didn’t get a snow cone that day. We didn’t go on Murdock Avenue. That’s where the gangsters lived. Yes, real live gangsters that were part of a well-known crime family in the city. I accidentally became friends with the daughter of a gangster. Tina was in my second grade class. We played together at recess and one day she asked me to come to her house to play after school. I asked my mom and she said sure (parents were much more trusting back in the day).

We walked home from school together on Brannon Avenue. When we got to Murdoch Tina said “We turn here for my house.” My heart started racing because I knew the street was filled with gangsters. There was a row of houses no one went near, and that’s directly where we headed. Because I was taught to always be polite, even if being led to a gangster’s house, I said nothing.

With knees knocking, I walked up the steps and went inside, maybe to never see the light of day again. Who knew what happened in gangsters’ houses?

Well, I lived to tell about it. Turns out gangster’s kids play Barbies, have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and watch Tennessee Tuxedo on television. No gun battles, tough guys, or  fights. Tina was a nice girl. Her older brother was a little creepy, though.

After I told my mom what happened, I never got to play at Tina’s house again, but we still remained friends through the second and third grade. As for the gangsters, Tina’s uncle, who lived next door to her on Murdoch Avenue, was arrested and convicted for a car bombing that killed another gangster. Real live gangsters.

As I finished up my shaved ice, I got out my notebook and wrote down a few of the memories the refreshment had brought back to my mind. With a little research, it might make a pretty good short story. Then my cell phone rang.

I slurped up the last of the snow cone, and the sad news on the other end erased all thoughts of snow cones and musical trucks and Murdock Avenue, and started me on a journey full of grief, joy, discovery, hard work, and traveling mercies.

Where did you write this week?

Do you have any interesting memories of the neighborhood where you grew up?

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It’s All Fun and Games Until Somebody Writes A Story About It

The Three Stooges, Disorder in the Court, 1936, public domain

by Kristin Nador/@KristinNador

Writers are a serious lot. We are serious about our craft. We are serious when we write and serious when we can’t. We are serious about getting published and oh so serious when we get rejected. Yes, you are a writer and you love writing.  You love talking about writing. You love having written even more. When is the last time you had FUN writing?

I had a great writing session yesterday thanks to a post on The Write Practice. Joe Bunting and crew do a great job of encouraging writers to practice with a variety of suggestions and prompts. Joe also encourages readers to share their practice and give feedback to others in the blog comments. Yesterday’s practice was all about clichés.

Check out Cliches: Not In My Backyard

The goal: write for 15 minutes using as many clichés as possible. I like clichés. They remind me of those noir detective movies from the 40’s.  I discovered a treasure trove of clichés, euphemisms and figures of speech on ClicheSite.com. After scrolling through pages and pages of clichés, I wrote a list of my favorites and the challenge was on.

An afternoon’s challenge became the following short story. Can you find all the clichés?

Better The Devil You Know Than The Devil You Don’t

I stood inside the entrance to Max’s Bar, shaking out my trenchcoat.  It was a dark and stormy night and the rain was coming down in buckets; it was a real toad strangler. I needed a drink before my appointment. Take it from me, playing both sides of the fence takes its toll.

“What’ll it be?” Max said when I bellied up to the bar.

“Double scotch, neat.”

Quick as a whistle, Max poured the scotch and slid the glass straight as a nail to stop in front of me. I wanted to get hammered, but I knew the score. I needed my wits about me for this appointment.

“Here’s mud in your eye.”

Down the hatch went the Scotch and Max nodded. It was good to the last drop.

I thought about Betsy. She was the best thing since sliced bread, as pure as the driven snow, with a heart of gold. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. But Pops always said you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. I burned that bridge, and now I was drowning my sorrows and watching the clock, waiting for my appointment to arrive.

The joint was hot enough to fry an egg in, so I loosened my tie, and scoped the place. I was caught off guard.

She was a dead ringer for Jean Harlow, with blue eyes as cold as ice. My mouth dropped, and she gave me a wink. Quick as a New York minute she stood beside me, grinning from ear to ear. A gold digger from the wrong side of the tracks, to be sure, but I could go head over heels for her regardless. Pops never said nothing about not having the icing on the cake.

“Fancy meeting you here,” she purred in my ear. She was fine as wine. Knock your socks off gorgeous.

“What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?”

“I’m Sheila. Out sowing your wild oats? I’d love to join you.”

She wiggled up onto the bar stool. She was a little rough around the edges, nothing to sneeze at, but I’d be out of the frying pan and into the fire with this one.

“I’m waiting for someone.”

I turned on my stool to face the door. My heart would turn on a dime and she’d have me under her thumb. I needed to shut this dog and pony show down before I got too worked up.

“Wake up on the wrong side of the bed, honey? I can turn that frown upside down. Your place or mine?”

“Listen, you’re a good egg, but… I’m waiting for someone.”

“Zip your lip.” She hopped off her stool, grabbed my face with red talons, and planted her lips on mine. “What you see is what you get. You can take that to the bank.”

I cut to the chase. “Not interested.”

“What am I, chopped liver?” Sheila stomped off in a flurry of cheap perfume and fake feathers.

Just then the door opened and a gust of rain blew across the tables. Max grumbled. “Hey, were you born in a barn? Shut the door!” My appointment had arrived.

The handwriting was on the wall. Big Gus wasn’t coming, but he sent three of his goons in his place.

One was a mountain of a man, and looked a little long in the tooth to still be in the business, with a face only a mother could love. The other two walked in joined at the hip. Tall, wiry and dressed to the nines, they were two peas in a pod.

“Long time no see”, the big one said.

I had a memory like an elephant but I didn’t recognize him.

“You’re a marked man, Franconi. You couldn’t leave well enough alone. You had to make a mountain out of a molehill. If you hadn’t made a federal case out of it, you’d have been free as a bird. You could have just chewed the fat with Big Gus, let him call the shots, and you would have gotten off dirt cheap.”

I reached inside my coat, but the two tall ones had circled the wagons and got the drop on me.

“Just a cotton-pickin’ minute here!” Max hollered as he reached under the bar for his shotgun. The big one beat him to the punch and blew him away. Patrons scattered everywhere, and one young guy still wet behind the ears lost his lunch.

“Listen, we might have gotten off on the wrong foot,” I said. “It’s true. I didn’t want to listen to Big Gus. But Big Gus is a money-grubber, plain and simple. It’s no skin off my nose if you want to take orders from him, but the long arm of the law isn’t far behind. You’re in over your head, fellas. I wouldn’t want to be in your place for all the tea in China. Big Gus is small potatoes. I can sweeten the pot and up the ante.”

“Wake up and smell the coffee, Franconi. Your ship has sailed. You made your bed, now you gotta lie in it.”

He scratched his head. He was ugly as sin.

“You can’t just pull a rabbit out of your hat and make us think you have something for us worth turning the tables on Big Gus. You can talk until you’re blue in the face, but I’ve been around the block. I was busting heads for Big Gus before you were a gleam in your daddy’s eye. If you’re not a team player, you don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of moving up in this business. You’re a bad seed, Franconi.”

I was going to have to wing it, but I had an ace up my sleeve.

“Here, I have the plan right here. I’ll lay my cards on the table, and if you three join me, we can swim with the sharks. Survival of the fittest, you know, and Big Gus will thank his lucky stars we don’t share with the competition.”

I stared at him, stone-faced, while I reached into my coat pocket.

“Share with the competition? What’s that got to do with the price of eggs?”

He may have been strong as an ox, but he was dumber than a box of rocks.

“You’re going to get your just desserts,” the big one said.

“Hit the deck!” yelled one of the tall ones.

Two shots rang out at the drop of a hat. The matching suits fell like trees.

“Eat lead!” screamed the big one.

Before I could react, Sheila ran towards him, guns blazing. He went down in a blaze of glory.

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

“That was gutsy as all get out. I thought I was a goner.”

“It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.”

She stood over the bodies, two revolvers in hand and ice water in her veins.

“State of the art in personal protection. You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

“You’re a peach. I don’t know how I can ever thank you.”

“You’ll think of something, sweetie.”

I felt like a kid in a candy store.

There are eight million stories in the naked city.  This was mine.

***

I encourage you to head over to Joe’s blog and try out a practice.

Joe Bunting’s The Write Practice

Question: How many clichés are in the story? Share your guess in the comments.

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Healthy Writer Wednesday: Changes are a Comin’

pure luck I caught this butterfly on the flower - not a monarch but still beautiful

This weekend I spotted the beginnings of the annual migration of monarch butterflies through Oklahoma on their trek from Canada to Mexico. The orange beauties look like they’re casually floating by but they’ve been on a mission since their caterpillar days. The changes they go through to get to their awesome butterfly-ness are so extreme they have their own biological term: metamorphosis. They are a wonder of Creation.

image courtesy captain-Tucker, Creative Commons

As anyone who regularly reads this blog knows, I have an on-going feud with my alter ego Perfectionist Me. Changes seem to upset Perfectionist Me to no end. She likes everything to stay the same so she can check it off “the List”. She likes to call my attention to the fact blogging experts say you should stick with the same subjects so your readers will know what to expect from you. She likes to follow the rules. She’s tried to talk me out of exploring new themes on the blog, but I’m working on embracing my writing journey and journeys includes changes. She doesn’t win the vote this time.

Nothing as dramatic as metamorphosis happening, but beginning in October there will be a few changes coming to kristin nador writes anywhere. We’ll be shaking up Wednesdays for a while with some subjects I hope we can discuss together. Each month will look like this:

  • 1st week – Wednesday Wellness

We’ll continue our focus on being our best selves body, mind and spirit

  •  2nd week – Wednesday Women

 A theme I’ve discovered in my short stories and novels is that I gravitate to strong women overcoming adversity so I’d like to devote a Wednesday to talking about women who have done amazing things. The post may be about women from history, women from literature or women who have impacted our lives personally. This is your chance to participate. If you have an idea for Wednesday Women or would like to do a guest post, send me an email at kristin dot nador at live dot com and let’s talk about it!

  • 3rd week – Wednesday Writing Prompt

A fun way to get the creative juices flowing!

  • 4th week – Wednesday Weird and Wacky

Something that grabs my attention from the week’s news, pop culture or strange floating bits in cyberspace.

Monday and Friday schedules will remain the same so click on that little RSS or email subscription button at the upper right of this page so you can stay up to date and let’s encourage one another on the journey!

Question: Do you ever get stuck in a rut in some area of your life because you are afraid to change the ‘schedule’? What did you do to get out of it?