STUDY HALL: Write with us, beginning each Monday at 10 a.m.!

IMG_0259We check In each Monday here to give each other support and encouragement to work in those writing projects we might otherwise put off. Everyone is invited to join us by including below a brief comment about what you’re working on today. Afterward, please let us know how it went. If you can’t make it at 10 a.m., leave your comments when you can, before you start, by the Study Hall post dated today. Better late than never, better now than not at all!

Simone the Yorkie says, “We’re here for you!

Write With Me Study Hall, Monday, November 28, 2016: Stay Tuned

Hello, Everyone. I think it’s wise to shake things up now and then. So I’ve decided to take a break through the holidays and think about whether and how I might want to continue these study halls. It seems I’m not reaching many people and if that’s so I’m failing at my goal of encouraging writers to feel less alone. Failing is a good opportunity to learn. So while I think, I’m open to your comments and suggestions. 

Also, I’ll be taking on a new/old responsibility in 2017 as a leader in Jane’s Stories Press Foundation, which I helped to found many years ago. I’m excited about our new plans to streamline the foundation’s activities, so I’ll surely be telling you more about that in the coming year. 

In the meantime, I’ll be doing all those fun holiday things with my children and grandchildren. I hope your holidays will be spectacular and that I’ll see you here in the New Year, in whatever form that might take.

Photo by Tim Schneider, used by permission

I just made this fantastic design with Canva for iPad!

https://www.canva.com/design/DACF1pmdCBg/vq2HSl5AeD9rq2gSkiBDfg/view

Write With Me Study Hall, Monday, November 14, 2016: Love Letters & Apocalypse

Like. many of you out there, I’m still a bit stunned, but it’s time to pick ourselves up off the mat and get to work. Even though the landscape has changed around us, we must remember that this is real life, not the world in our head. 

We have options. As writers, we have the privilege of showing our readers a world that could be, whether for better or worse, or the world as we see it. We could hole ourselves up and write a diversion, much as J.M. Barrie wrote Peter Pan to exorcise the death of his brother, David.  Our response could be to write a fantasy in which all becomes right with the world. Or we could write the unvarnished, naked truth. 

I’m feeling more like the unvarnished, naked truth these days. I have a feeling that for the next few years, my favorite people will be satirists, or comedians. Wanda Sykes on Trump  

We’ll see what comes out.
Today, I will lay hands on my new novel, The Man Who Loved Chocolate

I will also write a little love letter to Hillary Clinton, who I’m sure isn’t getting enough love, and never enough appreciation, these days. If you’d care to join me in that venture, the address is:
Hillary Clinton, Post Office Box 5256, New York, NY 10185-5256

In Praise of Career Politicians

Smart thinking, Susanna! Just what I’ve come to expect from you. Thanks.

From the Seasonally Occupied Territories . . .

mocha chipComing home from grocery shopping yesterday, I pulled in to down-island Cronig’s to see if I could find a few things that Reliable either was out of (stew beef and no-beans chili) or doesn’t carry (Brigham’s mocha chip ice cream — the best).

Tobias Glidden, independent candidate for state representative, was outside talking with voters and passing out copies of his position paper. I stepped up and said that although I was actively supporting Dylan Fernandes, the Democratic nominee (which had to be obvious because I was wearing Dylan’s sticker on my shirt), I’d liked what Tobias had to say at the candidates’ forum this past August. It was good, I said, to have two qualified candidates running. The district would be well served no matter who won.

As I headed into the store, he said, “You know, I’m not planning to run for higher office.” I laughed and said…

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Monday at the Movies: No One Ever Gave Women the Right to Vote Edition

My friend, Sharon Gilligan, pointed out this incredible blog post to me, which says so eloquently why we must all vote, and vote for Hillary. For the ones who fought to give us this privilege, and those who could not join them. Vote. And vote for the woman. Think if we all had all done that for Shirley Chisholm, what our lives might have been.

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Women weren’t “given” the right to vote.

Our great-grandmothers and grandmothers clawed it for us from the Patriarchy, one beating after another, one force feeding after another, one terrified night in a jail cell after another.  One wife threatening to tell what she knew, to never sleep with him again, to leave.  One mother guilt tripping her son, one sister calling in the childhood favor, one mistress swearing she’d go to the papers, one farmwife writing off the debt she couldn’t afford to write off and crediting it all to her great-great-granddaughters.

Here, at Samhain, when the veil between the worlds is thin, if you stop for just a moment, you can hear the women of your own blood calling out to you.  The women of your own line will talk to you:

I was too afraid to join them, but in my heart, I knew we deserved the vote…

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Write With Me Study Hall, Monday, October 31, 2016: Use Your Imagination! 

What would you look like if you were a witch? How would your life work? Imagination is what makes us writers, grammar is what makes us intelligible, and structure is a toy to set our minds afire. 


I am not a witch nor have I studied Wicca (though I have friends who are and do.) Nevertheless, I feel I can perform magic. Not only on the page, but in real life.

Magic to my mind is what happens when we make connections, when a spark flies from me to you, when empathy causes us to save that spider, or impulse makes us leap to do the thing that terrifies us. I perform real magic when I can make a reader understand someone else’s state of being, realize a new value, or even feel alertly alive for a spell. 

In that second, we are at one with something larger than ourselves. We grow, pop! into a new incarnation. Even if you can’t wiggle your nose and force your house to clean itself, you can reach for the larger moment, flicker something new into life.


Writing is an amazing thing.

Today I’m going to get back in touch with my novel, which I’ve had to neglect as I traveled during the last week. I’m going to lay hands on it, and, in between dashing to the store for candy and answering the door for trick-or-treaters, I’m going to let that spark fly from my fingertips. Try it. You may glimpse a new world entirely and share it with us all. 

Happy Hallowe’en. As always, I ask that you leave me a note to let me know you were here. 

Write With Me Study Hall, Monday, October 24, 2016: Scene Building

Hi! Today my goal is to draft a new scene of my novel, The Man Who Loved Chocolate. What are you up to? 

Write With Me Study Hall, Monday, October 17, 2016: The Honey Pot

[Leonard] Cohen’s writing process, as he told an interviewer in 1998, is “like a bear stumbling into a beehive or a honey cache: I’m stumbling right into it and getting stuck, and it’s delicious and it’s horrible and I’m in it and it’s not very graceful and it’s very awkward and it’s very painful and yet there’s something inevitable about it.”[19]

Wikipedia
That’s as close as I’ve ever read about my own writing process, though I could never have put it so well. Work and work until you hit a sweet spot.

Today, I’m turning to some long-neglected poems to see if I can improve the imagery. What are you working on? 

Travel Day. See you soon.

Write With Me! Study Hall, Monday, October 3, 2016: No Excuses! 

The cable folks are tromping around the house and moving their truck up and down the street and otherwise creating havoc, but 
I AM AT WORK! Show me your hands, friends; it’s so encouraging to have company on an irritating day like this. 

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