Quoting the Masters II


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Quoting the Masters II
By Nandy Ekle

I like to read quotes by authors who know what they’re talking about. I find a lot of inspiration, instruction, wisdom, truth, and humor.

Here’s a few I’ve picked out from other sites on line to share with you.

1, Every first draft is perfect because all a first draft has to do is exist. — Jane Smiley

2. You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page. — Jodi Picoult

3. Fill your paper with the breathing of your heart. — William Wordsworth

4. You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. — Stephen King

5. A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit. — Richard Bach

6. I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it. — Toni Morrison

7. If you want to be a writer, write. Write and write and write. If you stop, start again. Save everything that you write. If you feel blocked, write through it until you feel your creative juices flowing again. Writing is what makes a writer, nothing more and nothing less. — Anne Rice

8. Write like it matters, and it will. — Libba Bray

9. Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on. — Louis L’Amour

10. It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself but to move in an entire universe of your own creating. — Gustave Flaubert
Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

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THE MUSE


A Postcard from the Muse

THE MUSE

By Nandy Ekle

 

 

I pulled the package from the mailbox. I was so excited I nearly dropped it, and what a horrible tragedy that would have been. Especially after what happened to the first mug. I had been walking into the break room to get a cup of coffee. I raised my right arm, just like always (since I’m so hopelessly right handed). And, at that very moment, the old injury to my shoulder decided to groan, which caused my hand to open mid arc. My precious Stephen King autographed mug flew across the room and smashed on the floor into a million pieces. I was so stunned I could barely breathe. My. Stephenkingautographed. Mug. Smithereens.

Yes, it had become a very dark day indeed. Oh, I know the autograph was just a print on the side of a simple white coffee mug, but what it represented! All those shards of ceramic on the floor—some of them no more than white powder—looked like all the words I had ever written, ever would write, sitting in ground-up piles in my head. Nothing but trash, and dangerous to touch.

The morning crowd of zombies hunting for coffee looked at me and I could hear their thoughts. Did she just throw a coffee cup? Is she crazy? Why in the world would she do that? Look at that mess! Guess who’s going without their morning pot of black gold? Glad it wasn’t me. I fought the tears back from my eyes as I knelt and begin picking up the pieces that were still big enough to pick up. Carefully holding the remnants of my cup, I tried to turn myself invisible and tiptoe to the trash can. I was not to be allowed a moment of grief because I was holding up the traffic of bodies squashing around each other and my pile of Stephen King’s autograph. I closed my eyes and let the bigger pieces fall from my hands into the abyss of rubbish. A broom stood next to the trash can and I went back to my pile of smashed dreams and began sweeping. Another woman ran to get the dustpan to help sweep the rest of “my precious” into it.

I thanked her as I pretended to be aloof regarding the silliness of the situation. “I guess that’s a fitting end to a Stephen King autographed cup.”

“Oh. I’m so sorry. Well, there are the Styrofoam cups there.”

“Yes, I’ll just use one of those. As long as I get my coffee . . .” I trailed off.

“Yes! Must have the coffee! Well, if there’s anything else I can do, let me know.” She smiled and blended back into the crowd yawning and waiting in line for coffee.

You could conjure a new Stephen King autographed cup for me, I had cried out in my mind. My cup is broken. My dreams were in that cup. No one understands what that cup did for me.

That was six weeks ago. Today my new cup came in the mail. It’s still just a simple white ceramic mug with “Constant Reader” and his signature printed on the side. Same loops, same whirls, same angles, all the letters are exactly the same. And something else is the same. The spirit of the cup.

I’ve always loved Mr. King’s books, and stories. I was in high school when his first book, Carrie, hit the shelves. The story is about a girl in high school with no friends, and I identified with her in some ways.

In the 1970s, a lot of stories and movies came out about people with telekinesis. I enjoyed those stories because, for one thing, they were eerie. But also, I thought it would be the coolest thing in the world to suddenly discover I could move things around with my mind. I would sit for hours alone in my bedroom at night, when I wasn’t working at the local Sonic Drive In, and try it. I would stare at the light switch next to my bed and concentrate until I couldn’t see anything else in the room but the light switch. “Flip off,” I would think in my head over and over. Of course, it never did. So I decided maybe I needed to say it out loud. “Flip off.” After repeating this command uncountable times, my mother would stick her head in the door thinking I was cursing at something.

“What are doing in here? And we do not say those words in this house!”

“I’m doing my homework, and I wasn’t saying bad words.”

She would look at me sideways with an I-really-don’t-believe-a-word-you-say look in her eyes. “Well, hold it down.” And she would leave.

So, Carrie. Carrie is one of those telekinesis stories. The other kids are cruel to her and her mother is crazy and she uses her powers to get back at everyone around her for their bullying all her life. Well, I didn’t have telekinesis, and I did have friends, but there were times when I felt alone and bullied. So Carrie was MY kind of story.

Then Mr. King’s Salem’s Lot came out and I was over the moon. Vampires! I had loved vampires since I was in elementary school, and now here was a book about a whole town of vampires.

The next book to hit the shelves was The Shining. By that time I had graduated from high school, married a mortician, and we lived in a duplex next door to the funeral home. The Shining was one of those books with so many layers that I didn’t even see half of them. Even now, as a writer in my own right, I still find new layers every time I read that book. Mountains in Colorado, snowstorms, a massive hotel, troubled parents, a child with ESP, and to top it all off, ghosts. Every single element I’ve craved in a good story since learning to read. And Mr. King added so many interesting layers that it would take the rest of my life to see the whole thing. Reading that book is like discovering a new cave, and the deeper I go, the more new rooms I find.

After that, his books came out so fast it was hard to keep up with them. I’ve read a lot of  his stories, some I have not read. Some I’ve started but not finished because my life became so busy with motherhood and my own attempt at writing.

But I can truthfully say that even though I’ve never met Stephen King face to face, he’s taught me everything I know about writing.

So, my cup. One night I had wandered onto to his website. I realize it’s maintained by a staff he’s hired just for that purpose. But still, to put the pointer of my mouse over his site and read the King News is thrilling. And then I noticed he has merchandise other than his books. So I clicked. T-shirts, towels, dog bowls, liquor flasks, pillowcases, tote bags, silver trays, computer skins, shot glasses, tumblers, and coffee mugs. And not just generic stuff. Some of it is specific to certain books. But there’s also a line of merchandise labeled “Constant Reader”, what he affectionately calls his fans. And I definitely qualify to be Constant Reader.

I ordered my first cup.

When it came in the mail I danced circles around the house waving my new coffee mug, which declared to the world that I am a Constant Reader fan of Mr. Stephen King’s books. And I made sure to point out his printed signature to everyone who had been unable to avoid me. My. Stephenkingautographed coffee cup.

I took it to work and, after waiting in line, holding my version of the Holy Grail close to me to keep from being jostled, I filled it with coffee. In my opinion, that was the best cup of coffee I had ever had in my life. From that moment on, I knew I would never drink coffee from any other vessel while sitting at my desk reading contracts and assuring customers their retirement funds were in good hands.

The next morning the cup sat waiting for me on my desk where I left it the night before, and I noticed the lipstick mark on the rim. As an adult woman past a certain age, I make sure I look presentable each morning, which includes my favorite lip gloss. Now, looking at my autographed mug, I saw the symbolism of my lipstick mark on the brim and my heart danced again.

But something else happened during my lunch hour that day. I know that my most creative time of day is noon, so I use my lunch hour to write my own stories. However, I had been in a sort of stalemate with my current work-in-progress. Writer’s block, if you will. And I’ll just tell you, there is nothing more miserable in the whole world as a writer who can’t write. That’s like a breather who can’t breathe. I had writer’s block so bad I was on the brink of giving up and chucking the whole idea of story writing.

Until the second day of being a Constant Reader. That day I opened up my little laptop I brought to work tucked into my work computer bag. It booted up and I put my hand on the keys. The next thing I knew, my hour was up and I had written four thousand words without even realizing I was writing. I had gone into “THE ZONE” and words had shot out of my hands onto the computer screen. And I knew it was because of my fabulous cup.

And then the unspeakable had happened.

Needless to say, the words stopped pouring out of my hands again, the characters in my head lost their voices, the color went out of the world.

Happy New Year


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Happy New Year

By Nandy Ekle

A new year, but the same goals: lose more weight, exercise my body, organize the house, cook more meals/eat out less, and write more words.

Yes. Write more words. I want to write more words. However, the year started off with lots of activities, lots of overtime at my day job, but not much energy to get it all in. And on top of that, I still have one more Christmas present to finish, several more to wrap, and a quick trip to deliver these gifts to those we haven’t celebrated with yet.

So write more words. I wonder if Stephen King says that every New Year? Write more words. How many words are enough? At this point, if I could just write SOME words that have nothing to do with my day job, I would be ver happy with even that small goal.

So, please accept this as confirmation the annual resolution of WRITE ORE WORDS has been set for this new year.

Let me know your goals for this year in the comments below.

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

Writing Quotes


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Quotes

By Nandy Ekle

 

 

  1. “From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.” —Winston Churchill
  1. “I get a lot of letters from people. They say: ‘I want to be a writer. What should I do?’ I tell them to stop writing to me and get on with it.” —Ruth Rendell
  1. “The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.” —Mary Heaton Vorse
  1. “Revising a story down to the bear essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.” —Stephen King
  1. “If writers were good businessmen, they’d have too much sense to be writers” —Irvin S. Cobb
  1. “If the English language made any sense, lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers.” —Doug Larson
  1. “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” —Douglas Adams
  1. “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” —Ernest Hemingway
  1. “Amateurs sit and wait or inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” —Stephen King
  1. “A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.” —Franz Kafka
  1. “When writing a novel, that’s pretty much entirely what life turns into: ‘House burned down. Car stolen. Cat exploded. Did 1500 words, so all in all it was a pretty good day.” —Neil Gaiman
  1. “Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke. —Joss Whedon
  1. “The hard part about writing a novel is finishing it.” —Ernst Hemingway
  1. “Nothing’s a better cure for writer’s block than to eat ice cream right out of the carton.” —Don Roff
  1. “Good fiction create its own reality” —Nora Roberts

 

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

 

When I’m Feeling Stumped


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

When I’m Feeling Stumped

By Nandy Ekle

I’ll admit it. I’ve been stumped for quite a while. I’ve been stuck with hundreds of beginnings to hundreds of good ideas that fizzled about three pages in. I have been at the point of being embarrassed to bring my WIP to the critique meeting because it’s usually a page and half to three pages that actually sound like a bunch of random words strung together. And then the next meeting I bring a different one and half to three pages of a different drivel.

And then I discovered I was out of new stories on my audible books, and being between paydays, I couldn’t get a new one just yet. Time to re-listen to some of my favorites. And a couple of fiction stories that were a lot of fun to hear again. I listened to Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King, and The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin. Both of those are cute, fun, and incredibly brilliant.

So I swiped through my audible library again and my finger stopped on On Writing by Stephen King. Now I’ve probably read that paperback book at least three times, and I liked it enough that I also got the audible version. And I know I’ve listened to the audible more than once. But it’s been a while. So I reloaded it. And I’m so glad I did. As much as I love words, play with words, learn new words, and make up my own words, I’m not sure there’s a word that says exactly how inspiring Mr. King’s book is for me.

And the really fun part is this. I’ve been researching for yet another beginning of another new story. My story is based on an old song that I grew up listening to from my dad’s records. And I’ve had the story completed in my head for a while. However I’ve had to learn a whole new culture just so I can write the starting scene. So I have say that I chose the perfect timing to listen to Mr. King’s On Writing.

I just want everyone out there to hear me. Please read this book. One reading will be enough, but it’s like potato chips. You can never have it just once.

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

The List


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The List

By Nandy Ekle

 The best place in the world to find inspiration to write is from those who have proven themselves to be brilliant geniuses, masters in the field. Here is a list of those authors who, when I read their work, I forget to breathe.

Stephen King

JK Rowling

Neil Gaiman

Nora Roberts

James Patterson

Diane Setterfield

Terry Brooks

Piers Anthony

Anne Rule

Janet Evanovich

Mary Stewart

Dr Seuss

Moe Willems

JA Applegate

RL Stein

Ray Bradbury

Gillian Flynn

This is by no means exhaustive as I’ve had 50 years experience as a reader. And I’m always looking for new masters and stories to get lost in.

Tell me whose work gives you goosebumps, thrills, and makes you swoon with joy?

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

The Constant Reader


POST CARD FROM THE MUSE

The Constant Reader

By Nandy Ekle

Anyone who reads Stephen King recognizes what a “constant reader” is. If you haven’t heard this phrase before, it’s the term of endearment Mr. King gives his fans, especially those of us who have been around since the 1970s, when Carrie came out, followed by Salem’s Lot, and then The Shining.

So what is it about his work that we crave? Some of his stories are unbelievable, some border on absolute silliness. But I find myself devouring even these as if they were coated with the fudge syrup I pour generously on my ice cream.

Well, I can tell you exactly why this genius’s words keep me glued to the page. And it’s exactly what I just said. He’s a genius with words. When a writer can make you gag with disgust after one sentence, that’s talent. If, after reading a page or two from a book, you find yourself hiding all the alphabet letters from the refrigerator, you’ve been immersed in greatness. If a hotel becomes a living character in a novel, and standing in the door of the hotel makes you feel like you’re shaking hands with a celebrity, that’s the work of a word genius.

My personal favorite Stephen King book is The Shining. In my opinion, this book is a masterpiece. I’ve read it more times than I can count, and I find a new layer every time I open the cover. The last time I read it I noticed something I had never noticed before. The first three or four chapters are back story. However, he does not info dump on us, the readers. What he does is place us inside the characters’ heads. We see, hear, feel, taste, smell, everything they do. And it’s in this state we learn why the characters are the way they are. And it is so real that it took me 30 plus years to analyze it.

In some places during the reveal of this backstory, Mr. King writes continuously without the interruption of punctuation. I believe the absence of commas, periods, and even spaces between words gives the feeling of swirling, as going down a drain.

And that’s incredible.

So, hear’s to you, Mr. King from a consummate Constant Reader.

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

The List


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The List

By Nandy Ekle

 The best place in the world to find inspiration to write is from those who have proven themselves to be brilliant geniuses, masters in the field. Here is a list of those authors who, when I read their work, I forget to breathe.

Stephen King

JK Rowling

Neil Gaiman

Nora Roberts

James Patterson

Diane Setterfield

Terry Brooks

Piers Anthony

Anne Rule

Janet Evanovich

Mary Stewart

Dr Seuss

Moe Willems

JA Applegate

RL Stein

Ray Bradbury

Gillian Flynn

This is by no means exhaustive as I’ve had 50 years experience as a reader. And I’m always looking for new masters and stories to get lost in.

Tell me whose work gives you goosebumps, thrills, and makes you swoon with joy?

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

What if I Fail as a Writer?


What if I Fail as a Writer?

Rory C. Keel

 

So you want to be a writer but you’re afraid of failure. Perhaps your dream is to write a novel, publish an article in a magazine, or write a famous screenplay but the idea of failing keeps you from ever starting. Putting the “cart before the horse,” as they say, can skew a person’s thinking.

Here are five steps to help realign your thinking so you can achieve your dream of success.

  1. Realize success comes in steps.

Achieving any goal is like walking up a staircase, it has to be one step at a time. Honestly assess where you are in your writing skills. Do you understand grammar and sentence structure? Perhaps you’re farther along and need to work on story telling or plotting?

By knowing where you are on the staircase of writing, you can know what your next step is. That next step is success.

   2. Reaching the next step can be difficult.

Famous authors such as Stephen King, Charles Frazier, Larry McMurtry, J.K. Rowling didn’t reach fame in one day. It takes hours of putting one word next to another, days of sitting in a chair, months of research and rewriting, and sometimes years of waiting for a project to be noticed. Take one step today and another tomorrow and you will be successful.

   3. You will run into obstacles.

Have you ever walked through the house in the dark to get a drink from the kitchen and stubbed your toe on the coffee table? Immediately you scream OBSTACLES!

Understand there will be hindrances to your writing such as finding time to write, family members that need attention, or even the need to make a living and pay the bills.

That’s life. These things still exist for famous authors, they have just learned to prioritize and deal with them.

   4. Surround yourself with other writers.

By surrounding yourself with other writers, you set yourself up to succeed. Learn from others who have what you want. Success is a level small or great not a final ending. So when you associate with those who desire to write and have a mindset to accomplish goals, you become motivated to move along with them.  Famous authors haven’t reached the pinnacle, they only have a greater level of what you can achieve in a small step tomorrow – SUCCESS!

   5. Never, ever, give up on your dream.

“Lots of people limit their possibilities by giving up easily. Never tell yourself this is too much for me. It’s no use. I can’t go on. If you do, you’re licked, and by your own thinking, too. Keep believing and keep on keeping on.” — Norman Vincent Peale

roryckeel.com

What if I Fail as a Writer?


What if I Fail as a Writer?

Rory C. Keel

 

So you want to be a writer but you’re afraid of failure. Perhaps your dream is to write a novel, publish an article in a magazine, or write a famous screenplay but the idea of failing keeps you from ever starting. Putting the “cart before the horse,” as they say, can skew a person’s thinking.

Here are five steps to help realign your thinking so you can achieve your dream of success.

  1. Realize success comes in steps.

Achieving any goal is like walking up a staircase, it has to be one step at a time. Honestly assess where you are in your writing skills. Do you understand grammar and sentence structure? Perhaps you’re farther along and need to work on story telling or plotting?

By knowing where you are on the staircase of writing, you can know what your next step is. That next step is success.

   2. Reaching the next step can be difficult.

Famous authors such as Stephen King, Charles Frazier, Larry McMurtry, J.K. Rowling didn’t reach fame in one day. It takes hours of putting one word next to another, days of sitting in a chair, months of research and rewriting, and sometimes years of waiting for a project to be noticed. Take one step today and another tomorrow and you will be successful.

   3. You will run into obstacles.

Have you ever walked through the house in the dark to get a drink from the kitchen and stubbed your toe on the coffee table? Immediately you scream OBSTACLES!

Understand there will be hindrances to your writing such as finding time to write, family members that need attention, or even the need to make a living and pay the bills.

That’s life. These things still exist for famous authors, they have just learned to prioritize and deal with them.

   4. Surround yourself with other writers.

By surrounding yourself with other writers, you set yourself up to succeed. Learn from others who have what you want. Success is a level small or great not a final ending. So when you associate with those who desire to write and have a mindset to accomplish goals, you become motivated to move along with them.  Famous authors haven’t reached the pinnacle, they only have a greater level of what you can achieve in a small step tomorrow – SUCCESS!

   5. Never, ever, give up on your dream.

“Lots of people limit their possibilities by giving up easily. Never tell yourself this is too much for me. It’s no use. I can’t go on. If you do, you’re licked, and by your own thinking, too. Keep believing and keep on keeping on.” — Norman Vincent Peale

roryckeel.com