Monday, August 31, 2015

Last Days of August: Photos and Latest Favorite Quotes

August was a good month for photos--and for quotes, too, actually. Enjoy!

August 2015 on walk
"Downtime is where we become ourselves, looking into the middle distance, kicking 
at the curb, lying on the grass or sitting on the stoop and staring at the tedious blue of 
the summer sky. I don't believe you can write poetry, or compose music, or become 
an actor without downtime, and plenty of it, a hiatus that passes for boredom but is really 
the quiet moving of the wheels inside that fuel creativity." --Anna Quindlen

August 2015, skyward surprise
"Be prepared as you write to be surprised by your own writing, surprised by what 
you find out about yourself and about your world. Be ready for the happy accident. 
Open yourself to the numinous, to the shapes and shades of language, to that first powerful 
thrust of story, to the character that develops away from the surprise of the exact and perfect ending. You are--after all--the very first reader of what you write." --Jane Yolen

August  2015 and fishing on the Scioto
"Everything we do, even the slightest thing we do, can have a ripple effect 
and repercussions that emanate. If you throw a pebble into the water on one side 
of the ocean, it can create a tidal wave on the other side." --Victor Webster

August  2015 at a roadside rest
"For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance 
changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life--the 
light and the air which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding 
atmosphere which gives subjects their true value." --Claude Monet

August  2015 on a roadtrip
"One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things."--Henry Miller

August 2015, catching an elusive moment
"All my life I've looked at words as though I were 
seeing them for the first time." --Ernest Hemingway

August 2015 and backyard favorites
"In a meadow full of flowers, you cannot walk through and breathe 
those smells and see all those colors and remain angry. We have 
to support the beauty, the poetry, of life." --Jonas Mekas

August 2015 , a most beautiful day
"These beautiful not exist as mere pictures--maps hung upon the 
walls of memory to brighten at times when touched by association or will...
They saturate themselves into every part of the body and live always." --John Muir

What favorite images or words are you taking with you from August of 2015? What writing goals have you set for September?

Monday, August 24, 2015

18 Slogans for the Motivated Writer

CVG Airport August 2015

"slogan (n.): 1. a phrase expressing the aims or nature of an enterprise, organization, or candidate; a motto; 2. a phrase used repeatedly, as in advertising or promotion; 3. a battle cry of a Scottish clan." -the

I've been thinking about slogans lately, especially following our most recent jaunt out of town, on Frontier Airlines. A quick hop from Cincinnati to Atlanta and parts nearby. Now this isn't an endorsement for Frontier necessarily, but the company does have a unique marketing plan. Their slogan: a different kind of animal. How do they illustrate this? By painting a picture of an animal on the airplane's tail. And, boy, does that catch the little ones' imaginations. Imagine the grandkids' reactions when we told them we flew on a fox. In the gate next to us was a deer.

So how does a slogan befit a writer? Well, I did a bit of research, and found a few slogans of notable companies (list source here). Imagine if we adapted some of these to our writing habits, writing attitudes, writing goals:

 1. Imax: "Think big." Don't limit yourself or talk yourself out of your ideas. Hop on and fly.
 2. Volkswagon: "Think small." Notice detail. Keep your antenna out. Record descriptions.
 3. MacPro: "Beauty outside. Beast inside." Be willing to fight for the ideas you want to express.
 4. Playstation: "Live in your world. Play in ours." Stimulate creativity and imagination.
 5. Sony: "Make believe." Similar to Playstation. May the worlds you create be your playground.
 6. Ajax: "Stronger than dirt." Don't buckle. Foster determination to see the project through.
 7. Yellow Pages: "Let your fingers do the walking." Or the typing. Page after page after page.
 8. Kodak: "Share moments. Share life." Journal. Record life in photos. Share in family and friend time. And then let some of that infiltrate your stories and enhance them.
 9. McDonald's: "I'm lovin it." Do you love what you do? If so you'll go back to it again and again. 
10. Hallmark: "When you care enough to send the very best." Take pride in your work. Improve your craft. Make your work the best it can be.
11. Clairol: "Does she...or doesn't she?" What makes your character interesting? Compelling? A page-turner? What is her secret?
12. Visa: "It's everywhere you want to be." Immerse yourself in your setting. Know where your character walks, down to the cobblestones in the streets. Travel--if not literally, then in your mind and see what there is to see so you can describe it for others.
13. M & M: "Melts in your mouth, not in your hands." Tap into sensory details--including taste!
14. Nokia: "Connecting people." Isn't that what writing's all about, connecting with readers through words?
15. AT &T: "Reach out and touch someone." Ditto to above.
16. Maxwell House: "Good to the last drop." Does your writing satisfy and deepen experiences for others?
17. L'Oreal: "Because you're worth it." Treat yourself after a hard's days work at the keyboard. Chocolate's always good.
18. Energizer: "Keeps going and going and going." That, I suggest, is the slogan of a true writer!

Do you have a writer's slogan that keeps you focused? Any of the above you think you might adopt? Will you join with the Scottish and make the word 'slogan' your battle cry?

And do you need help in crafting a slogan? Slogan Generator can help.

Finally, there's the guy who spoofs advertising slogans with his comical spinoffs. His name is Clif Dickens, and you can find samples of his work here. I share a few favorites:

Starbucks: "We serve you decaf if you're rude."
Old Spice: "Smell like Grandpa."
Yellow Pages: "Here, you throw this away."
Lego: "The bane of your foot's existence."
MacDonald's: "Because you only have $4."
...and one with particular relevance to our family history:
Monopoly: "A great way to ruin friendships."

Explore slogans. You might just find--or write--the perfect one for you!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

History From A Redwood's POV

photo courtesy

"What a story a redwood stump could tell, with its 2000 rings of annual growth. One of the outermost rings carries us back to the landing of the Pilgrims. Count back from there: 1600, 1500, 1400, 1100--you are still only at the First Crusade. Keep on counting, year by year. Your eyes will be sore and strained before you get back to the year when Alaric was sacking a fallen humbled Rome. And yet this proud, this lusty American tree was already a strong young giant. When it was a sapling the Chinese were inventing paper. When it was a hopeful shoot, Pompeii, the pride of pagan pleasure cities, was buried under the ashes of Vesuvius. As the seed sprouted, Christ was born in Bethlehem." --Donald Culross Peattie, Trees

Not a botanist nor a naturalist, still I'm fascinated by trees. A sycamore plays prominently in my first children's historical novel. Thus I was fascinated by this author's take on the redwood tree. Donald Culross Peattie's way of describing a tree that can live as much as 2000 years and tower to the height of a 35-story skyscraper (source) makes the subject a whole lot more interesting than just posting a list of facts. What a way to capture a reader's imagination and set an inviting stage for more exploration!

One thing leads to another. A quote to an image. A bit of trivia to a person and his history. Turns out Peattie, with whom I was not familiar before coming across this quote, was one of the most influential American nature writers of the 20th century (1898-1964). His love of nature was triggered, they say, from his boyhood growing up in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. He went on to write more than twenty fiction and nonfiction books.

Though privileged to travel to California a number of times, I've never visited the state's famous redwood trees--but thanks to Peattie's writings I can at least "see" them more vividly now in my head. And since two of Peattie's books on trees have been compiled into one volume, A Natural History of North American Trees, I have the promise of more adventures into the world of trees when my copy, which I've ordered, arrives. I can't wait to read more of his work.

(Though I must admit that a real-life, up-close-and-personal visit would get my vote for really seeing the redwoods!)

Writers. Books. Imagination. Taking us places we might not otherwise visit. The words of Donald Culross Peattie, and the promise of his books, captured my imagination this week. What author or book has captured yours lately?