Request from Linda Rodriguez: The idea is to answer four questions about your writing life and your current or next book (or both) and then ask a couple of other writers to do the same the following Monday.
I admire Linda so much, so I had to say yes. You can read hers http://lindarodriguezwrites.blogspot.com
Here are my attempts to answer the questions . . . and I would be happy to pass the baton to others to continue the “hop.”
- What am I working on?
. . . this blog, answering the invitation of Linda Rodriguez, whom I respect. In April I wrote for the A to Z Blog challenge. I work on new stories for telling at the Second Monday Story Swap at McClay Library, St. Charles, Missouri. Other writing as the spirit moves me. In retirement, I am working toward “human being” more than “human doing.”
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I have several storytelling/writing friends, but not at all in the same genre, much more individual choices. Some are more humorous, and some do the research for historical tales. Many of us focus more on folk tales. I tell only a few personal stories, which have become prevalent.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I write and tell what feels important to me at the time, and in the form that feels right for that material. Howard Schwartz told writing workshop participants that sometimes what we think will be a poem will become a story, and the reverse. My father’s story of the Rainbow is in the collection of “Daddy John” stories, but also a poem written in that workshop (in 1993, memorable by the Flood), and in my “Real and Make Believe” story on my CD. I wrote a series of Mom poems to memorialize her and deal with sorrow at her passing.
I also often find stories that fit an event’s theme, sometimes adapting from my repertoire and sometimes researching until I find what I think they need.
My last few years of teaching, I had friends help me find short, encouraging stories to help my students survive the NCLB MAP testing, and they did help.
4. How does my writing process work?
I let ideas “percolate.” If I am learning a story to tell, a select one that has been haunting me, reread and start working on the “bones” of the story first, finding the parts that have made me want to tell it. I might take notes or storyboard key elements, and then begin telling it to myself, adding details that enrich and clarify, memorizing only a few key phrases that fit precisely, and leaving room for change so the story stays alive. Even after recording my Carnival Elation Tall Tale, and telling it dozens of times, I decided on a change in the lifeboat subplot. I like it, and that’s how I tell it now.
Written stories and poems are more static, fixed in final form once they are edited. Advice from my eighth grade teacher was to write something, put it away for a few days, and then come back to edit with fresh eyes and new insights. Helping my students develop that habit was one reason I scheduled “peer edit” days in advance of final due dates. It also is most important to have another trusted reader look for the things the writer, knowing the piece too well, won’t see.
Having broken the rule of having someone edit, because Linda is posting the link any minute, I am open to corrections and suggestions . . .
(and I’ll be taking a second look tomorrow myself) It’s midnight!! Sleep well . . .