Dear Muse


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Dear Muse

By Nandy Ekle

Dear Muse,

 I am 54 years old. You have been with me since I was a little girl. I’ve never not known you.There have been times when you’ve had millions words for me. And there have been times when I I couldn’t get so much as a beep from you.

 I remember when I finally learned to control you. I was just coming into my teens. You brought me a novel length story, which I wrote. Looking back, we were both immature, and the story was very naive. But together we did complete a novel.

You stayed with me for all my remaining years of school. We wrote numerous short stories, and we had a blast doing it. Our friends, Ginger and her muse, wrote with us and all four of us gained tons of experience.

After I married my husband and the children came along, you went on a vacation. I couldn’t blame you for it. Raising children took so much of time that I really didn’t have much left to give you. And I just have to tell you that I wouldn’t have changed any of that. My children needed me and I needed them.

Then they suddenly were grown and flying away to start their own lives. I called for you again, and there you were, whispering to me as if you had been beside me all along. You dictated stories for me to write. And write them, I did. I won honors with them, and a few were published. But the best part of writing your stories was . . . writing them.

Occasionally I notice you’ve gone on vacation again. I realize this when I have my hands on my keyboard looking for a word to type, and no word comes. I call for you and only hear silence. This seems to have happened more and more often. In fact, the stretches of your vacations are getting longer and longer.

But then yesterday, you were back. It was as if you had never gone away. I was sitting at my desk doing my day job. Suddenly, idea after idea came flooding back into the halls of my brain. As I researched for my letter writing, a new idea would pop up. I grabbed a pencil and paper and started writing a list of these ideas for my next projects.

So, welcome back, dear muse. It’s good to see you back here where you belong.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

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How To Write a Story


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

How To Write a Story

By Nandy Ekle

First

First you

First you write

First you write a

First you write a word.

First you write a word. Then

First you write a word. Then you

First you write a word. Then you write

First you write a word. Then you write the

First you write a word. Then you write the next

First you write a word. Then you write the next word.

First you write a word. Then you write the next word. Soon

First you write a word. Then you write the next word. Soon you’ll

First you write a word. Then you write the next word. Soon you’ll have

First you write a word. Then you write the next word. Soon you’ll have the

First you write a word. Then you write the next word. Soon you’ll have the whole

First you write a word. Then you write the next word. Soon you’ll have the whole thing

First you write a word. Then you write the next word. Soon you’ll have the whole thing on

First you write a word. Then you write the next word. Soon you’ll have the whole thing on paper.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

GARAGE SALING


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Garage Saling

Second hand stores, pawn shops, garage sales. These are great places to find a good bargain, if you’re willing to hunt and haggle. If you know what you’re looking for and how much money you want to spend, these kinds of places can pull you in and keep you busy searching for treasures all day.

But saving money is not the only treasure at a “Used” store. When you walk in the door, what’s the first thing you notice? If it’s a store front shop, you probably see racks and racks of clothing, shelves of old dishes, boxes and bins of toys and books, maybe furniture, bedding, and even electronics. If it’s a garage sale, there are card tables and home-made racks and shelves lining a driveway or yard.

But look closer. Gently handle the set of china plates and what do you see? Maybe you see the chip or crack on the edge. Or maybe it’s the fact that the set is not complete. But do you see the age? Can you sense the previous owner, the housewife who was widowed after sixty years of marriage?

How about those child size jeans? They look a little frayed in the knee and feel thin in the seat. Do they remind you of a little boy who learned to ride his bicycle while wearing them?

And the stuffed animal loved ragged by the little girl who took it to the hospital when she had her tonsils removed?

Congratulations.  You have just received a post card from the muse.

Nandy Ekle

The Moon


Postcards From the Muse

The Moon

You’re riding in the car late at night.  The sky looks like black velvet with tiny rhinestones dotted around the darker inkblots of clouds.  You admire the dark shapes the clouds make and notice a bright sliver working its way out from under the edge of the blackest splotch in the sky.  The moon struggles for attention.

As you watch the contest, you notice that as the cloud moves at just the right angle, the illusion of a frowning brow is created over the face of the moon morphing it into a giant eye watching the earth below.  You can’t take your eyes away.  A fuzzy line of fog forms around the silver disk morphing the illusion further.  You suddenly feel certain that a being observes and takes notes of the night life on the planet.

Who or what does this eye belong to?  Does it spy on a crime taking place?  Has a lover’s tryst caught its attention?  And why does it choose to appear angry?  What story can you find here?

Congratulations.  You have just received a postcard from the muse.

Nandyekle.com

Message From Mundania


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Message From Mundania

Life, moving slowly, as if the same day repeats over and over and brings to mind a phrase from the days of Flower Children: What a drag.

You get up in the morning, rub your eyes, wash your hair and drink your coffee. You go to your jobs or classes, work a while, eat your lunch, work a while, go back home. You eat supper or dinner—whatever you like to call it—turn on the TV and settle for the night. And it all starts over the next day.

But what we forget are the little adventures we have every day, you know, the little things that are different about a day. The postage machine hijacks the fax machine, the client forgot to send in the payment, or a black plastic bag scoots across the highway and reminds you of an alligator coming after your car. Once, just breaking the promise to myself that I would not eat my favorite snack that day brought a very nice story.

When something happens just the teeniest bit out of the ordinary, whether it’s frustrating or hilarious, you can write an entire story centered on this event. Let your imagination ponder and study it. Then add in some exaggeration to what you already know about the event. You’ll soon find that your ho-hum life is full of story-worthy adventures and “boring” will be for people like detectives and spies.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Nandy Ekle

The Perfect Writing Space


The Perfect Writing Space

By Natalie Bright

The second blog post I did for WordsmithSix Blog, I talked about my perfect writing space: our lovely home office. It should have been the perfect place to dream, imagine, explore words, and create. When it came to the work in progress, I couldn’t write a darn thing in that room. Instead, the kitchen table called out to me. I watched my world as I wrote: the kids were much younger, food simmered on the stove, and the dogs peered at me through the window.

Years later WordsmithSix has grown to almost 500 subscribers (thanks everybody!), and I’m writing in a new space.

Luckily, I’ve been able to cut my day job hours which allows me more time to write. In the office space that we share with my in-laws, I’ve taken over my mother-in-law’s office. It hardly seems possible that she’s been gone almost ten years. She was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known. Material wealth had absolutely no meaning to her. She was never interested in fancy clothes, shoes, or filling her home with stuff. Instead, her collection of Stephen King and Dean Koontz hardbacks were her pride and joy. She loved a good horror story. Cooking a huge meal for her family or proudly showing me the first prefect rose on the bush that she had grown from a dead twig where her rewards. This was where she did the books for their real estate business, and where my kids sat on her lap to play computer games. She kept a pile of trucks and legos in the corner.

The memory of her quiet presence reminds me that this was always her office, which is why we haven’t used it until now. It has been transformed into my ordered chaos. Stacks of edited manuscripts, research notes, and books that cover every available space. I don’t have to be orderly or put anything away, and it’s wonderful. I look forward to work every morning and can hardly wait until my hands are on the keyboard.

As for the kitchen table, it’s back to being a table in the kitchen. The home office has been taken over by our high school aged son who has embraced the online gaming community.

I guess the point of this blog is this: be YOU, create when and where you can, and realize that crafting words is a complicated, joyous process that we shall never understand.

What about you – has your perfect writing space changed from time to time?

Injecting Life


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

 Injecting Life

The twisted little body lies on the slab. So far that’s all it is, just a lifeless rag. I’ve put a suture here and there to string pieces together in an effort to make the body whole. There are a few loose ends, but those will heal once the life begins.

I have a whole ward of these lifeless little things. Some of them could be beautiful; some of them could be powerful. All of them are mine. The only thing missing from each one is a beginning sentence.

These special little wads of bodies are ideas that I’ve had for stories. They pop in my head at random times, sometimes uncanny in their ability to find the most inappropriate moments to show up. I can be in the middle of a sentence during a conversation with a complete stranger when one of these ideas knocks on the door and says, “Guess what!” Or I can be deeply immersed in reading an amazing book, except for the split second when I hear, “Sort of like what happened to me.” Music brings them, pictures bring them, people walking down the street bring them. One time an idea spoke so loud I woke up from sleep in the middle of the night to listen.

I take the idea and lay it on a slab, gluing it down with my ink and a promise saying, “Don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back,” and usually I do come back and fiddle with it a little more. Occasionally, though, they get tired of waiting on me and go on to find someone else with more time—but for the most part, they wait patiently.

So I look at this one particular idea and see the marks of where I have tried to find the right sequence of words to inject into its veins that will open its eyes. I see a lot of needle marks, but still the eyes have not opened. There was a flutter one time, for a split second. This poor little waif is in two parts, and the second part is set. The first sentence of that scene caused the eyeballs underneath the lids to roll in a curious REM fashion, but they did not open. The first part is not there yet.

From all the words that exist in language today, there has got to be a combination that will work to open these eyes. And so I will continue to look for the perfect fit, that special key that will give life to this story. Then I can move on to the next.

Nandy Ekle

The Moon


Postcards From the Muse

The Moon

You’re riding in the car late at night.  The sky looks like black velvet with tiny rhinestones dotted around the darker inkblots of clouds.  You admire the dark shapes the clouds make and notice a bright sliver working its way out from under the edge of the blackest splotch in the sky.  The moon struggles for attention.

As you watch the contest, you notice that as the cloud moves at just the right angle, the illusion of a frowning brow is created over the face of the moon morphing it into a giant eye watching the earth below.  You can’t take your eyes away.  A fuzzy line of fog forms around the silver disk morphing the illusion further.  You suddenly feel certain that a being observes and takes notes of the night life on the planet.

Who or what does this eye belong to?  Does it spy on a crime taking place?  Has a lover’s tryst caught its attention?  And why does it choose to appear angry?  What story can you find here?

Congratulations.  You have just received a postcard from the muse.

Nandyekle.com

The New Kid


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The New Kid

By Nandy Ekle

 

 

I can’t take it anymore. You just run around all over the place, never say anything meaningful to me, then ignore me when you are around. I’ve gotten some deeply cryptic messages from you that make absolutely no sense, and when I try to make sense out of it, you stir it up like mud at the bottom of a lake. I’m tired of your torture and abuse, then you disappear for a long break, as if you’ve worked tirelessly for a long time.

And because of all this, I’m firing you. That’s it, muse. You’re fired. Don’t bother coming back and collecting the meager ideas and words you’ve left laying around. I don’t want to see you or hear from you ever again. You can find another writer to taunt and ridicule.

The fact of the matter is I have a new muse. He’s always around whispering to me. He has some excellent ideas and he wants me to get busy writing them. He wants me to succeed. I’m sure this new guy will be more than happy to take me straight to the top.

When I look to him for ideas, he does not look at me as if I’m ridiculous for even trying. He doesn’t give me impossible riddles that make no sense. In fact, he sits on the corner of my desk with a sweet rose, and bids me to write the stories I’ve carried in my head forever. And he tells me I will never lack the words to put on paper.

So, meet my new muse, Horatio.

Untitled

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

 

Author. Speaker. Girl About Town.


Author. Speaker. Girl About Town.

Natalie Bright

The Amarillo Club is located on the 30th and 31st floors of the tallest building in downtown Amarillo. I was invited to join a study club for lunch and to present a program on the history of energy in the Texas Panhandle. It’s a very interesting group of ladies, mostly retired educators, several local, long-time business owners, ranchers and professional women. This group is fun. They had lots of comments and questions, which makes for lively conversation and an enjoyable experience. This is my second time to present a program for them.

The view is breathtaking from this lofty vantage point. I posted a picture on Instagram and Facebook of the downtown skyline and the flat Texas Panhandle.

When I got back to my car, I checked the mirror to apply lip gloss and noticed a speck of food. In my teeth. For the entire talk? Gross! I held on to the hope that perhaps the people at the back of the room couldn’t have seen it. I half cried as I checked Facebook comments on the picture I had posted. My Uncle commented: “Eating at high altitude produced gas (Boyle’s Law). You can control it by eating slowly.” So much for hanging on to any credibility for my #authortalk.

Embarrassment and horror turned to giggles as I drove back to my office. No matter how sophisticated and worldly I might be in my own mind, I’ll never escape these redneck roots. I’ll always be a small-town Texas girl, even in pearls and high heels while dining at the top of the world.

The same holds true for my writing.

No matter how hard I wish it, the stories in my brain are not mainstream. Honestly, I had big plans of being a romance novelist. I’d love to write the next zombie mega hit. Or even better, why can’t my muse ignite me with an earthshattering future world adventure that breaks all records as a New York Times Bestseller? Yes please, I want to write that.

Reality check. More than likely, it’s not going to be my book with, “Now a Major Motion Picture” printed on the cover.

The stories in my head are set in the past. My characters are thundering across the wide open prairie on a paint pony, or storming through a clump of Redcoats. In my mind’s eye, I see wagons and horses and Comanche braves. I have no idea why.

The why is a mystery.

The where and who are moving picture shows in my head.

The doing is the hardest work I’ve ever done.

Follow your characters, no matter where they may take you….