ARE YOU AFRAID TO FLY?


ARE YOU AFRAID TO FLY?

by Rory C. keel 

It’s amazing that so many people have a fear of flying. Several years ago, while on a plane from Saint Louis Missouri to Portland Oregon, I remember boarding and seeing a man who looked as pale as death. He took his seat across the aisle and immediately buckled the seat belt, grabbed the armrests and shook so violently I wondered if it was the engines or him shaking the plane. After sedating himself with a couple of adult beverages, he slept soundly to our destination.

While I have never been afraid to travel in an airplane, I have experienced a fear of flying. Realizing I would never pilot an F-16 fighter jet, I turned to the hobby of remote control airplanes.

After what my wife called “investing heavily” in a kit, I began to build my first R/C airplane. For days I trimmed every piece of wood with the skill of a surgeon to the exact specs. For weeks, I placed every drop of glue precisely in the correct spot, as to not change the balance of the plane. And after months of careful tune-ups on the engine and electronics, along with a few instructions from others to assure that my plane would soar with the eagles, fear took over.

What if it crashes? All that hard work and time will have been in vain.

On my first solo flight, I rolled the plane down the tarmac and lifted off. A feeling of accomplishment flooded over me as I made one pass, then another over the stands. Not wanting to run out of fuel and lose the plane, I made the approach to land. That day I witnessed the most horrific sight—in front of me laid splinters of wood, pieces of plastic and shards of metal. I crash-landed my plane.

In writing, there are moments when we are afraid to submit a piece of work, fearful of rejection. We work on a piece until it is perfect then, “WHAT IF” takes over. What if it’s rejected? What if it was a waste of time because no one likes it?

The good news is that my first plane did finally soar. I learned that my time wasn’t wasted at all. In all the hours of building I had learned how to repair the broken plane, and after adjusting the mistakes I made in the landing approach, confidence took control.

Yes, I have letters of rejection for my writing, however with repairs and a few adjustments, those same pieces have been published.

Don’t be afraid to fly!

ARE YOU AFRAID TO FLY?


ARE YOU AFRAID TO FLY?

 

It’s amazing that so many people have a fear of flying. Several years ago, while on a plane from Saint Louis Missouri to Portland Oregon, I remember boarding and seeing a man who looked as pale as death. He took his seat across the aisle and immediately buckled the seat belt, grabbed the armrests and shook so violently I wondered if it was the engines or him shaking the plane. After sedating himself with a couple of adult beverages, he slept soundly to our destination.

While I have never been afraid to travel in an airplane, I have experienced a fear of flying. Realizing I would never pilot an F-16 fighter jet, I turned to the hobby of remote control airplanes.

After what my wife called “investing heavily” in a kit, I began to build my first R/C airplane. For days I trimmed every piece of wood with the skill of a surgeon to the exact specs. For weeks, I placed every drop of glue precisely in the correct spot, as to not change the balance of the plane. And after months of careful tune-ups on the engine and electronics, along with a few instructions from others to assure that my plane would soar with the eagles, fear took over.

What if it crashes? All that hard work and time will have been in vain.

On my first solo flight, I rolled the plane down the tarmac and lifted off. A feeling of accomplishment flooded over me as I made one pass, then another over the stands. Not wanting to run out of fuel and lose the plane, I made the approach to land. That day I witnessed the most horrific sight—in front of me laid splinters of wood, pieces of plastic and shards of metal. I crash-landed my plane.

In writing, there are moments when we are afraid to submit a piece of work, fearful of rejection. We work on a piece until it is perfect then, “WHAT IF” takes over. What if it’s rejected? What if it was a waste of time because no one likes it?

The good news is that my first plane did finally soar. I learned that my time wasn’t wasted at all. In all the hours of building I had learned how to repair the broken plane, and after adjusting the mistakes I made in the landing approach, confidence took control.

Yes, I have letters of rejection for my writing, however with repairs and a few adjustments, those same pieces have been published.

Don’t be afraid to fly!

Rory C. Keel

WRITE TO MAKE DIAMONDS


Write to make Diamonds

I recently conducted some interesting research on diamonds, how they are formed in the earth, the process used in mining these allotropes of carbon and what happens to them on the journey from mining to the market.

Dealing with diamonds the industry uses what is called the 4C’s. The first “C” is the Carat. This is a term used to reference the size of the diamond. The second is Color. This can range from colorless, the most valuable, to a yellow hue. On occasion a diamond of another color is found such as the blue Hope Diamond. These are rare. Thirdly is the Clarity. This describes the degree to which a diamond is free of blemishes and inclusions. Finally is the Cut. The cut is the jeweler’s touch. The angle at which a diamond is cut makes it attractive to the eye and gives it its shimmering brightness.

I have found that these “4C’s” are very useful in writing.

First, the carat. What size does my writing project need to be? Many contest pieces, devotionals, short stories and articles are subject to a specific word count. Publishers and agents may also require a word count in the length of some novels.

Secondly is the color. What is the genre’ of my writing? The answer to this question will not only help you in what to write, but in determining your target audience when it comes time to publish.

Third is clarity. What point of view are you writing from? Is it first person or third person, past or present? Double check your grammar usage and make it proper for the piece; and don’t forget the punctuation and spelling. These things can determine whether your story shines or is as clear as mud.

Finally the cut. The goal of this stage is to produce a faceted jewel where each angle between the facets optimizes the luster of the diamond. The jeweler cuts out weaknesses and flaws to focus attention on the beauty of the diamond. As writers, we type as fast as we can, elaborating on every little detail and sometimes find ourselves in a dark alley away from our storyline; or we add filler just to make the word count. Let’s face it; there are some things that will need to be taken out to make it shine.

At the jeweler’s a rough diamond is placed in a small vice, then carefully and strategically cut, and when it’s polished, it’s beautiful!

The diamond is your story.

Rory C. Keel

I Prayed for Rain, But…


I Prayed for Rain, But…

I hate moving, but I finally got around to looking for a new apartment and changing my address.  The apartment’s great.  It has everything one could want:  good square footage, tons of storage, private patio, fireplace, laundry room, covered parking, two pools, and a workout room. I hired the fire department’s moving service to load and transport my belongings and proceeded to set up my new home. Unfortunately, my upstairs neighbor’s washing machine malfunctioned and my apartment flooded. So here I sit, watching the ceiling over my breakfast bar buckle and sag while I make bets with myself on how long it will take for the sheet rock to fall to the floor. (I’ve settled on 10 AM Tuesday morning.)

No, this is not a joke. Less than one week in my new place and I feel like the movers just unloaded everything. Unexpected, yes, but then again, that’s life. As we are well aware, stuff happens. Wise ones prepare for it and use it to their advantage. As writers, we must view the unplanned as a tool to make our work stronger and more real.

Let’s address the practical first. Back-up your work. My office was in the path of the flood. The complex’s maintenance team handed my computers to my sister and me. I was nearly in tears as we dried them off and checked them out. You see, three hundred pages of my four hundred page novel were on one of the units. “Did you back this up?”  Of course I had backed it up, but my external hard drive was in the office and I didn’t know how much of the room was under water.  My new plan is back everything up on the external hard drive and on a disk or flash drive.

As for the creative side, use an unexpected turn in your work as an opportunity to explore subplots in your storyline. You may first think “Where did that come from?” but do not delete it. You may not have planned the romance or the death, but what if the event is the catalyst that moves your story to a higher level? Why not explore the possibilities? Should you decide not to use the event in the current work, save it in your “unplanned and unexplainable file” for a future project. Never, never, never toss out your outtakes. They could be a goldmine later.

Cait Collins