Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cruising the Neighborhood – Bird Video

by M. J. Joachim

Writing inspiration is often found in an instant. The other day, I was looking out my window. I’m not much with a video camera (yet), but I quickly picked mine up and captured these little critters. While I was walking Shadow today, I kept pondering the poem inside my head, based on the video. Turns out to be a Haiku. What type of poem would you write, based on the video?

Feeding Time

Shiny, so busy
Finding breakfast for the day
Birds on lawn at play

Thank you for visiting Writing Tips.

M. J.

Video credit:  M. J. Joachim – ©2013 All Rights Reserved
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Monday, March 25, 2013

Preparing Blog Posts

by M. J. Joachim

The sense of relief I felt finishing my last crochet design and pattern instructions for this year’s A – Z Challenge yesterday was not short-lived. As I walked past my computer this morning on my way to make coffee, the thought of knowing 26 projects were complete and almost ready to be posted on my blog was almost surreal. This is a task that took months to complete, one I’m more than happy I took the time to do.

Here’s the catch. I probably wouldn’t have designed and crocheted all 26 patterns had it not been for the Challenge. Once I committed to the idea, an idea that popped into my head last November, it was only a matter of research and will. Research to find A to Z projects to make, finished fairly quickly. Even the more “difficult” letters of the alphabet proved to need minimal effort at best.

By January, my creative energies were on overdrive. Looking at all my pictures, downloaded from public domain, GNU, Wiki etc., the first project practically screamed at me, so I started with letter h. It was a no brainer and worked up fast. Even the instructions were easy to write.

All the while, my mind was buzzing with ideas, sorting through dilemmas on how to create certain effects and looking at my supplies. The local craft store made a few dollars on this challenge, but only a few. Our oldest is graduating from college this May; hobbies and crafts are definitely not a priority around here.

One would think I might have driven my family a little bit crazy with all these ideas, patterns and intense moments of concentration, as I prepared Lots of Crochet Stitches for the Challenge this year. Instead, they were excited to see what I would come up with next and more than a little supportive.

There’s more to share on that score, and it’s not only about my crochet blog. As many of you know, I’ve entered more than one blog in this Challenge. This week is a bit of a wind down for me, now that three blogs have 26 posts from A – Z ready to be publicized at their respective times. Two blogs remain a work in progress, but nothing to cause worry or stress.

How are you doing with your preparations for the A – Z Challenge this year? Have they been a source of inspiration and satisfaction? Are you excited or a nervous wreck about one of the biggest blog hops in cyber space?

Thank you for visiting Writing Tips.

M. J.

P. S. I’m also sharing a post about Spam Flattery and Mr. Anonymous Commenter on the A – Z Blog this morning. You’re cordially invited to join the conversation.

Photo credit:  Crochet Hyperbolic Kelp, Margaret Wertheim, Creative Commons Attribution
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Friday, March 22, 2013

Cruising My Hood Writing Prompt Series – Native Plants

by M. J. Joachim

Cassia, a hearty, drought-resistant desert shrub, hugs a prickly pear cactus. This is a very old cactus, one that has weathered numerous seasons, only to grow stronger, showing the aging process, without giving into it.

I saw this picture the other day, prior to bringing my camera with me when I walked. It was the inspiration to make sure I had my camera with me. I wanted this picture for the symbolism it represents.

What symbolic thoughts come to your mind, as you look at this photograph?

On another note, if you’re in the mood for something a little more playful, please enjoy the poem I wrote for the A – Z blog today.

Happy Friday, good people. Here’s to a lovely weekend for all!

M. J.

Photo credit:  M. J. Joachim, ©2013 All Rights Reserved
Blog post:  ©2013 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Regarding Google Reader

by M. J. Joachim

I’ve been giving some thought to the recent Google Reader situation. I’m not sure it is going to put me into much of a quandary, because it seems to duplicate my efforts to follow blogs.


Directly below my dashboard is a list of blogs I follow. The left margin has the entire list; directly to the right of it, in the center, are all blogs currently being updated, as the updates occur.

Throughout the day, I’m visiting my blogger dashboard to post, edit, check comments, stats etc. Whenever I visit, I browse the newest updates on blogs I follow, often taking time to leave a comment in turn.

Wordpress and Other Platforms

Blogs using other platforms usually make it possible to follow by email. Consequently, every time they are updated, I receive their latest post directly in my inbox. (Some blogger blogs let you follow by email too. I happen to appreciate this option a lot, since I’m in my email fairly frequently throughout the day.)

The only catch is that I have a huge list of blogs I’m following, and some of them are clearly outdated or abandoned. Unless they’re posting so I can see the latest, sending me emails or commenting on my blogs (I try to visit all who comment on my blogs as much as possible), I’m not likely to determine their status.

As you search Blog Land for a replacement for Google Reader, it might be good to consider the path of least resistance, meaning follow what is current in your dashboard and email. Respond to those who build a friendly blogging relationship with you.

Thank you for visiting Writing Tips.

M. J.

Photo credit:  ©M. J. Joachim (ARR)
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cruising My Hood Writing Prompts Series – Introducing Shadow

by M. J. Joachim

This is Shadow. He and I cruise the neighborhood together. It’s a good place to find writing prompts, especially when you remember to bring your camera with you. I’m making a point to do so more often, starting today. You simply won’t believe some of the neat things I found, and getting Shadow to sit still for his profile pic…simply unheard of! Opportunity and a ready camera made my day on this pic.

Writing Prompt Ideas from Shadow’s Profile Pic

  • Research article on beagles
  • Importance of licensing your dog
  • How to choose a good dog collar
  • Shadow Sees Series (numerous stories about what Shadow sees)
  • Photo Lesson on shadows (not the dog, but his shadow in the picture)

I’m sure there are a few ideas relating to lawn care too. That’s the thing about pictures. They inspire us with new writing material all the time. Now it’s your turn. Please share the ideas for writing prompts that popped into your head from seeing this picture in the comments.

Thank you for visiting Writing Tips.

M. J.

Photo credit:  M. J. Joachim, All Rights Reserved
©All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Importance of Observation

by M. J. Joachim

I’ve been in a bit of a personal funk the last several months (nothing serious, mind you - age old philosophical questions like "Why am I here?" and "What's the meaning of life?" type stuff). Consequently, I turned to my writing, like I always have, to sort through the emotions and turmoil in my soul. We can only be who we are, so if that means pouring ourselves into work, to question our purpose, cast out shadows or face demons, so be it.

More about that tomorrow, when I share how I would change the world in the National Wormhole Day blog hop…

These past couple of days, I’ve been busy with family – not so much as mom, though I am by definition, Mom; I did do all my “mom” things, because it’s one of the best parts about being me. However, there were a few more points of interest this time, things that happen as the kids grow older, becoming adults in their own right.

It was time to step back and observe this crew of mine, truly take note of who each individual has become and what they are about, without taking credit, because they’ve become their own people – people I appreciate like few will ever understand.

On that note, and to avoid short-circuiting tomorrow’s post, I’ll leave you with this thought and writing tip.

Take time to observe everything from different lenses. See the world through your eyes. See the world through the eyes of others. See the world as an insider and an outsider. See the world as a bird, tree or grain of sand. Open your mind and heart to see the world as it is seen through so many multiple perspectives.

Thank you for visiting Writing Tips.

M. J.

Photo credit:  Magnifying glass, Mohylek, Public Domain
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Importance of Descriptive Language in Writing

by M. J. Joachim

First and foremost, I’d like to give a shout out to my blogging friend Pat and his cat, for reaching 500,000 page views this week! Woohoo! Congratulations to you!
Onto the business at hand…

With the A – Z Challenge rapidly approaching, I decided to make sure I completed my March Key Word Reading Challenge blog hop a little bit early. That’s not to say I won’t read any more books this month. It’s simply to personally know that I’ve met the task at hand, and don’t have to worry about it again until April.

At the Rainbow’s End by Jack London

I’m a big fan of Jack London’s work, because he is so descriptive with his writing. You can literally read any segment – a sentence or two, a paragraph, an entire chapter etc. and feel all your senses go into action, as you decipher what he has written.

Take for example this small excerpt from At the Rainbow’s End:

Half a dozen sleds, evidently bound up-stream to Dawson, were splashing through the chill water to the tail of the island. Travel on the river was passing from the precarious to the impossible, and it was nip and tuck with them till they gained the island and came up the path of the wood-choppers toward the cabin.

In only two sentences, you know you are surrounded by an icy river; you also know the river is melting and rising. Tension is high – a war against the elements and Mother Nature is imminent. (What do you know about the story, from reading this excerpt?)

Descriptive language in writing is vital for capturing and maintaining the reader’s attention. As writers, we need to draw our audience into our story, with valid, detailed verbiage, enchanting them with our abilities to weave a tale capable of energizing their spirit, while making them yearn for more.

At the Rainbow’s End is a short story without a short ending. This piece is acutely intense, radiating from its author’s scrutiny and resolute manner of inserting idiomatic expressions throughout the adventure.

Indeed, At the Rainbow’s End is about an adventure taking place deep within the Alaskan wilderness. It doesn’t start out that way, however. It starts out with a character on a journey, which dramatically evolves into a mission and ultimately escalates into an unbelievable scenario of countless twists and turns. It’s a story I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading and a tale you won’t soon forget.

That’s all for now, kind followers.
Thank you for visiting Writing Tips.
Until next time, I wish you every good thing.

M. J.

Photo credit:  Takakkaw Falls, Canada, Michael Rogers, GFDL
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Very Inspiring Blogger Award – Round 2

by M. J. Joachim
Hello dear blogging friends. It’s been quite a morning around here, and I’m happy to say, all was an easy fix (a bit time consuming, but relatively easy, all things considered).  Family first, then basic maintenance on the computer to keep it running type thing – I’m sure you’re all more than familiar with the drill.

Incidentally, I used a blow dryer (on cool setting) to blow out all the dust from my computer today. I turned the computer off completely and blew this little necessity of mine, inside, outside and sideways. It worked – much better than sticky notes between keys too!

Another thing, and I can’t stress this enough...I deleted all old email follow-up comments from commenting on blog hops, particularly anonymous comments with dirty links in them. Now I’m not one to click on those links, but just having them on my computer made me uncomfortable. They’re gone – designated to the trash bin and the trash bin has been dumped! My computer is responding better, so maybe these few tips will help you too.

If you missed it, or simply want to refresh your memory, Round 1 is posted here.

Tara’s Nomination

Things about Me in Pictures – Round 2

Bloggers I Nominate – Round 2

Blogging from A – Z Challenge
Variety is the spice of life. This blog has multiple authors and an absolutely fabulous team. Learn about blogging/writing and being technical on your computer without the capital T, meet fellow bloggers and enjoy all sorts of random information. This is must follow blog for anyone who enjoys blogging as much as I do!

I’m nominating Smashwords because so many of my blogging friends have books out there. This one’s for you, because it’s a wonderful place to self-publish your ebooks. (It’s been a while since I published my ebooks, and yes, I used Smashwords for all of them.)

Ask Sister Mary Martha
All I can say is, go on now, ask her!

Encourage One Another
I do believe the title says it all!

Painting My World
There’s so much beauty in the artwork here, and then to be taught secrets of the trade – beyond wonderful!

I think that about covers everything today.
Thank you for visiting Writing Tips.
Until next time, I wish you every good thing!

M. J.
Photo credit:  M. J. Joachim (All Rights Reserved)
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Monday, March 4, 2013

Biography: Frank O’Hara, Artist & Poet

by M. J. Joachim
Frank O’Hara was born on June 27, 1926 in Baltimore, Maryland.  He was raised in Massachusetts.  At the age of 15, he studied piano at the New England Conservatory.  He enlisted in the Navy in 1944 to serve his duty during World War II, and was deployed to the South Pacific and Japan on the Destroyer USS Nicholas.

After the war, O’Hara went to Harvard to study and compose music. A poet in his spare time (perhaps as a hobby), O’Hara left Harvard and his music studies to pursue a degree in English at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; he earned a Master degree in 1951.  Soon after, he was employed at the Museum of Modern Art, where he began to focus more seriously on his writing. 

Much of O’Hara’s work relates to art.  He wrote highly acclaimed essays and reviews for paintings and sculptures; he also became one of the most distinguished members of the New York School of Poets, along with many artists who inspired his work, including poets James Schuyler, and Kenneth Koch.  His relationships with painters like Jackson Pollack and Larry Rivers also inspired his poetry.  Sometimes, he actually worked with painters to combine poetry and text. 

O’Hara’s life ended abruptly in 1966 while he was on vacation, when he was killed in a sand buggy accident on Fire Island at the age of forty.  His work continues to be highly praised and recognized.  Some of his most noted titles are:  A City in Winter, Meditations in an Emergency, and Lunch Poems.

Thank you for visiting Writing Tips.
Until next time, I wish you every good thing,

M. J.

Photo credit:  Concord Poetry Center, John Phelan, Creative Commons Attribution
©2013 All Rights Reserved