THE WRITE PLACE…

to find Patti Singleton these days.


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Did You Vote? Runaway Writer Found on Beach, Heart Broken, but Alive!

beach

On my beach 2013

Read and vote, please http://soniamarsh.com/2013/07/how-personal-tragedy-brought-writing-back-into-my-life.html#comment-40972 Voting is quick and simple.

I had my days mixed up, a shockingly rare occurrence—not! Without my name tag, I don’t usually know my name:>) I thought yesterday was last day to vote:>(

As of 12:43 Pacific time the voting is 47-51. My main competitor has made this a fun race…we’ve been dueling with feathers on facebook. Thanks, peeps!

Patti


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Flying Readers Found In A Tree and On A Bed

Nephew Graeson reading in a tree house he helped his dad build. GHALL PHOTO 2013

Nephew Graeson reading in a tree house he helped his dad build last year.
GHALL PHOTO 2013

From down on a bed, to up in a tree, every reader has a favorite place to read.  My mother and my nephew are just two of the avid readers in our family.  My favorite place is a rocking chair; my aunt sits up in a hard-back chair at the kitchen table. Mom likes to read in bed before she goes to sleep.

Mom reading, Hawaii Island cottage. 2012

Mom reading in Hawaii Island cottage. 2012

My daughter reads a snippet at a time (between mothering duties) on the front porch. When she was younger, she read in a big field next to our house. My nephew reads in a tree or on the couch.  I almost always have a book in my truck, to read whenever I have to wait for something or someone.

Mom, my oldest sis and I read on vacation, but I’m not sure about the others. My youngest sis has a bulging bookshelf waiting for the day she is done with college and work. The house I raised my children in had no walls in the large main room; I divided areas with book shelves filled to capacity. I have since weeded them down to about 12 small boxes. They patiently wait for a space in my daughter’s home (in between the children).  My oldest sis saves up her favorite author’s newest books for her and Captain Honey’s long vacation in Costa Rica every year. That takes some serious will power.

There are not many male readers in the family, but a few. All of my best girlfriends are readers; none of my boyfriends or husbands were. Sometimes I think about all the people who don’t have the means, ability or opportunity to read. Then I wonder how those who do have the means, ability and opportunity to read, can choose not to.  It would be like having wings to fly, but choosing to walk everywhere. If I were Queen, everyone would read and everyone would keep a journal. The world would be a better place, I’m sure of it.

What about your family? How do books and reading fit into your lives? Share your family’s book and reading stories and photos in an email to me and I will post them next Monday. 1writeplace dot wordpress at gmail dot com   If not, feel free to leave a comment instead.

Meanwhile, check out Marilyn Armstrong’s blog post on the subject here, which inspired me to write this post.

Thank you,

Patti


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Things That Go Rrrrr, Crash, and Drip In The Night

This has got to stop. For my followers here, you know I don’t sleep much. Yet, every time I have tried to curl up and snooze over the last three days, I have been interrupted in the most unusual ways. It all started with a rrrrrrr sound. Woke me from that deep abyss I fall into after staying awake for 34 hours. What the pluck? I crawl out of soft and cozy and follow my ears…to my sink? Huh? Apparently some hygienic ghost wanted to brush their teeth and turned my electric toothbrush on. Funny, because I did forget to brush before I crashed, but weird, huh? Tooth fairy maybe?

The next night (not really night to normal people)I half-woke thinking I had mice. Kind of a scritching sound, you know? Holy crow, I do not need mice in here. Laid back down thinking I would investigate when I got up in a few hours. Nope, the sound was driving me crazy. Since I moved to this cul-de-sac in March, I’ve become used to the quiet here. Plus, I moved my fan into the “offfice’ earlier that day, so it was extremely quiet in my sleeping area. Okay, dammit, now the sound seemed rhythmic almost…not in my kitchen drawers, but over by the window…windows always scare me–too many stupid blood-bath movies when I was younger and braver–so back to the window. I stood still. I listened. Nothing. Then, there! I heard it again. For crying out loud, it is only water dripping from the last downpour. I closed the window and this latest sleep-interruptous case and went back to soft and cozy dreamland.

Last night, but not really night, I woke up to a huge clattering crash! I reached for my weapon (wouldn’t you like to know) and jumped out of soft and cozy, holding myself in my best “I’m-not-afraid-of-you” stance.  I had to keep blowing the wild locks out of my eyes, and my outfit was, well, let’s just say, not intimidating. The whole picture would have been really funny IF the glass beads that broke all over the damn floor had a way to laugh. Now, someone, anyone, tell me why that metal string of glass beads broke?

Are you like me? Do you look for reasons for strange things happening? Or are you a realist, who just brushes them aside and moves on? Here’s what I do know. My heart has been so broken by the loss of one grandson to the CPS system, and the death of his brother, that my thoughts always come back to them.

The boys loved snuggling with Grani, listening to a story, while the rain poured down and the wind blew. Rainy days, and I live in the Pacific Northwest, so there are a lot of them, always make me think of the boys.

The last time the 4 year-old was here on an overnight with Grani, he was fascinated by my electric toothbrush. So fascinated, that after he brushed his teeth, he insisted on putting his toothbrush next to mine, instead of in the cupboard where we keep it. He couldn’t reach, so I took it and put it next to mine, where it has been for the last 2 months–where it will stay.

Two months ago today, I was taking an afternoon nap, when the phone rang. I tried to ignore it, but they kept calling back. It was my son, crying and screaming at me to get over there, that something had happened to his 3 year-old. As I raced out of my door, one of the wire strings with glass beads caught on my wrist and, in my panic, I jerked it from me, and it spilled beads inside and outside the threshold of my door. It was the 4 year-old who ended up making a game out of finding all the beads the next day, as the adults around him were swooning from the death of his brother.

I’m just saying…

It is interesting the way some of us connect the dots.

Here’s where I ask for comments and beg to be “liked”…

Patti


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Writer’s Journal; Online Community Building

Lately, I’ve been thinking about all the community building taking place online. There are no hugs, long lunches, cozy dinners, or fun shopping expeditions. This is a new kind of community. When a person puts their life-long dream project on Kickstarter and gets funding for that dream by a group of strangers, that’s community building. Sure, the strangers(backers) get a book or a private viewing of the project, or maybe just a magnet, but the main reason is to back a dream. That’s one example of online community building in the 2000’s.

This essay is not about Kickstarter. It’s about what I’m seeing and doing to build my own online community in order to fulfill my dreams. I’ve only been actively participating online since mid-March, and I’m still in the midst of a major learning curve. It’s like one grand experiment. Furthermore, I’ve been thinking about my online motives, goals, advantages, and my accomplishments over these few months.

 Motives and Goals

*I’m here to learn about the current world of writing and publishing; it’s very important to me that I not be a burden to this new community, but an asset within it. I want to add what I know, not detract by asking others to find answers for me. Research is the key.

*I’m here to brush up on my writing skills. Some careers involve active editing, for the rest of us, it takes work to present polished writing that doesn’t confuse, or make the reader stumble over bad grammar and sloppy editing. At the same time, I love to experiment; to play with new words and forms of writing.

*I’m here to express my thoughts and feelings, beyond my friends and family. I’m getting my toes wet in the pool of public writing. My real life circle is following along; they have history with me and my writing. My circle knows who I am and who I am not. They know the ride I’ve been on these past 53+ years. Publishing is a goal that is now in sight, so I need to see how strangers react to my writing.

*I’m here to compile, polish and publish my books, stories, essays and poetry. I want to share the laughter, tears, knowledge, and my own unique take on this life.

Online Advantages

*No commitments, except self-imposed writing ones. This fits with my current state of mind, as do the next two items. Somehow, I can build a website and learn the intricacies of social networking. However, schedules, appointments and commitments still elude me. Half the time my name eludes me :>) I’m still taking baby steps in this fog of grieving. Everyone does this their own way and mine involves a lot of solitude. I can reach out with my writing, but that seems to be my limit right now. (I still need to learn how to link to past blogs in order to let new readers in on my back story. That said, I’ve recently lost a grandson, and a sibling and my husband in the last 3+ years.)

*No face-to-face. The illusion of anonymity is a plus.

*I can wear my jammies, clip my hair in a pile on my head and apply no make-up.

*Whatever I want to know is here.

Accomplishments

*This blog website: almost 1100 views and almost 300 followers. Those are just numbers, but everything I read says I have to have high numbers to sell books–whether I self-publish or use a traditional publisher. The minimum number of 10,ooo views is what “they” say.

*To raise those numbers, and build a community of readers who want to jump on this wagon with us, I joined Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Pinterest.

*I’m an active member of several writing and critique groups, to practice and improve my writing skills.

*I’m meeting and circulating myself in groups where my writing focuses: memoir writers, widows, patient advocates, and people who are involved in all aspects of writing for children. I’m following and interacting with the best of the best of experts in social media, publishing, and the other areas of  the business of writing in 2013.  June of 2013, to be specific, because things are changing at a pace that boggles the mind.

*And last, but is actually first, I’m writing like crazy, editing, re-writing, and getting ready for the next leap.

I opened this essay talking about online community building. I hope I have shown you how and why I am building my own online community and the importance of having one. If I were in the writing and publishing world in New York City, I would be doing much of this in person, although they are all online too. The business and social hub of the world can now kick off their high heels and suits, fire up their computers and be part of another kind of community.

It’s going to be a fun and exciting adventure, so I hope you will all join me in my growing online community.

Peace,

Patti


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6 Places I Go To Write Online and A Writer’s Poem

Writing All Alone?

Yes, writing is a solitary endeavor,

we lock the doors to write forever.

Close the curtains so they think we’re gone,

fingers ache when the muse is on.

Cell phone switched to silent mode,

so, what do we do in our lonely abode?

Facebook, Twitter, Likedin and blog,

we talk about writing and the hours we log!

copyright 2013 Patti Hall

That’s just the way it is with the writers I know in these techy days we live in. However, I am also logging hours by submitting my writing to fellow writers to comment on or critique. Below are the main places I go to write. Try them yourself, you’ll see what I mean. Most of these require you to submit author bio and writing sample to join.

http://thewritingsociety.ning.com/
The Memoir Writing Society  Still finding my place here.

http://www.shewrites.com
She Writes, I am also a member of several groups here. An incredibly friendly, large group of writers.

http://www.everywritersresource.com I’ve submitted poetry for a contest here, but lots of resources and opportunities to submit.

http://lauradavis.net/roadmap/
The Writer’s Journey Roadmap  Not a critique group, just a bunch of us writing personal essays & poetry from weekly writing prompts. This is a warm cozy place.

http://www.campnanowrimo.org
writers camp starts in July, goal: 50,000 words and a  finished work. Am I nervous? You betcha’!

http://www.fictionaut.com
A writer’s group where I submit writing and comment on other’s writing. Huge inspiration for me. Many well-published authors here, along with newbies like me.

Where do you go to write online? Questions, answers and comments welcome. Please take a moment to say hello.

See you soon,

Patti


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What I Would Tell You Now

Look, Paul, the reality is that I have no idea what you do or do not know about what’s been going on around here, and maybe just for me, I need to catch you up. For all I know you could simply be ashes buried deep; away from this well-lit world I walk in. For all I know you are “up there” bitchin’ about the fancy food and wondering when Earl’s gonna be on. So, that’s the place I’m going to imagine you while I write this little note. I mean, how can I think of you as just gone? Just buried ashes? At the same time, you know I haven’t let the bliss of religion take me over; we’ll just settle for “up there.”

In the place I keep you in my mind, you have all the sweet company of lost pets, your parents, and your former wife, Janet. We talked about it before you left, and I know where the balance of your love lies; Janet was the love before ours, I was the love of your present and future (huh! Some future!). You guys can hang out until I get there and then we’ll all be friends. We’ll probably ditch you and go antiquing anyway.

I’m sure my sis, Michaela, has found you by now. She’s the one cracking up, putting on fancy parties and trying to take care of everybody else. Our family friend Tommy is probably with her and you two are going to get along great—you both have that little sparkle in your eyes that I never did figure out. It does my heart good to think of the three of you having fun together, and you pulling them into your own family circle up there. You’ll probably sit around watching Johnny Carson with my grandma and ogling pretty women during the commercials with my Uncle Eddie.

There’s a precious little 3-year-old blond boy up there too now. He’s Jon’s son, Tiven, born just a few months after you left. That birth was an amazing event, and one of the only things that could get me out of the house. You’ll probably find him snuggled up with my sis, since she’s always been an awesome mommy. He needs one. And Tiven actually knows you, his papa, from all the pictures he’s seen and from all the stories we tell about you. You were so good with Nola and Cora, and I know you’ll just love our Tiven as much.

Anyway, honey, I miss you more than you can imagine, and I hope you are dealing with this better than me. I’m trying and I’m finally back to writing, so don’t nag about that. Just like we talked about, my hope is that our memoir will help others travel that rocky road of love, illness and death with better ease than we did. Well, I better get back to it.

Love you always,

Your Patti

Oh, and I know it’s you sending Tiven to wake me with his little kisses. Send more.

 


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New Study: Reading To Children; Print vs E-Books

In a digital age, parents value printed books for their kids.

The trend does show that parents, and others reading books to children, still want print books. As a parent and a grani, that makes perfect sense to me.

One chart in the study also shows that e-books provide the modern conveniences like wider selection, the ability to read while traveling or commuting, and being able to get a book almost instantly. Are these trends converging?

As an author on the brink of publishing  3 children’s books, the conclusions of this study validate my own research and publishing plans. Yep, give the readers the modern conveniences, but don’t forget those cozy moments oowwing and ahhing over incredible illustrations and the tactile joy of holding a “real” book in your hands, while your little ones compete for the privilege of turning the pages.

 


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Holy Crow, Batman, I Messed Up My Site!

Holy crow is right! Now I’ve gone and done it. Seems that I might have learned this lesson earlier (in the last 3 months) and have forgotten? What I now know, what I can only hope NEVER to forget AGAIN, is that when I mess around with site themes, I COMPLETELY, TOTALLY and FOREVER LOSE, all the furniture rearranging I had previously done. I mean even the throw pillows are gone.

I guess I should stick to writing. However, these days a writer must learn to take on far greater tasks than taking pen to paper, or digits to keyboard, far greater even than stuffing an envelope and licking a stamp. The list is huge, I mean, like a list of requirements for a PHD. Houdini acts are no longer enough; pulling stories and poems from thin flippin’ air is important, no doubt, but it’s really just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Speaking of lists, I’ve put paying for site memory (there may be another, more technical, term for this) at the top. Changing my mind is worth a lot to me. Just because I need a little furniture-rearranging therapy now and then, doesn’t mean I’m willing to risk having my throw pillows evaporate into thin air. Awe ha! Thin air; maybe my throw pillows are out there floating around with my story ideas? Do you think…would it be possible…could I type them back into existence? No? …Are you sure? …Oh, well then.

After re-reading this little missive, I’d be dense not to notice that my own memory may have played a tiny part in this mishap. I wonder…you think I can get some on craigslist? I’ll check twitter, maybe I’ll find some tips there?

Dr. Houdini and I are going to step out for a mocha now. See you soon.


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Why I Write Children’s Stories

Writing stories has never been a choice; the stories come and I have to write them down or I get a little nutty with characters rambling away in my head. Really. Poetry, essays, short stories, and even much of the non-fiction writing in college and for newspapers was the same way.

Now, as for what inspires me to put hours, weeks, months and (sometimes) years of work and contemplation into those children’s stories, that’s simple: my children, and now my grandchildren.

Way back then I home schooled my 2 children, with a couple of years in the fairyland world of a Waldorf school. Both experiences promoted our imaginations. We all made up stories in those days; sometimes verbal, sometimes in painting and drawing, and both children wrote and crafted books for a young author’s conference. We didn’t do TV (I still don’t). Three out of the four of us were avid readers; my son was more into actions than words, but would still sit entranced listening to his parents read. We never knew boredom.

During those active parenting days I wrote a lot. I was online writing parenting and homeschooling articles. I was encouraging other children to write in a class at a homeschooling conference. I was associate editor for an online homeschooling newsletter and editor in the children’s section of a (still) popular writer’s website. Life changed focus and I my public writing was set aside.

My daughter and her daughters at our local library.

My daughter and her daughters at our local library.

I’ve always been a sucker for the children’s section in the library and book stores. I love browsing the latest children’s books, drooling over the incredible illustrations. The best times at the library are when I take my grands with me. I sign their families up for the yearly family reading programs, the children collect the giveaway goodies, and then we all settle into the children’s area.  The younger ones play with the toys for awhile, but eventually I entice them with a book that I know they’ll love. The library is like our very own wonderland.

Today I’m writing like a fiend and my first children’s book is polished and ready for the next step. The second and third are close behind. Please stay tuned.


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What Happens In A Bed

Eight days before her 50th birthday they were married in their cozy new pajamas, holding hands on his bed in the hospital. The pastor and witnesses wore protective hospital gowns and gloves; the patient was in isolation once again. A special dispensation from the head doctor allowed the bride to wed without protection. (Pun intended).

The bride’s aunt and the couple’s neighbor came the day before on a ring and pajama-driven mission. On the big day the pastor and his wife brought more pre-owned wedding rings to choose from. No flowers were allowed. No rice-tossing, no wedding music or little flower girl. No wedding dress or tux. No wedding cake either, although a nurse brought them cake on their 1-month anniversary. Frankly, they wouldn’t have chosen a big-event kind of wedding anyway. But a garden wedding might have been nice; by this time of year, their neglected back yard was surely exploding in blooms.

The pastor and his wife (a witness) were dear friends who had traveled 6 hours across the mountains with only 3 days notice. The other witness was from the bride’s new circle of caregivers who lived in the hospital with their stricken family members. This witness had a 20-year-old son who was having life-threatening challenges while waiting for a heart transplant. Later she would lead the pastor to her son’s room for a blessing.

The bride simply had to marry the guy after his sweet middle-of-the-night proposal, on knees that were so swollen that they could barely bend; they laughed and cried as he grabbed her waist and she helped him up off the floor, back onto his hospital bed.

This scene reminded both of them of a night in their own bed several years before, where they got to laughing so hard that they both ended up on the floor.  Humor was a big part of who they were as individuals and defined them as a couple.

wedding hands

After their friends left, after the certificate was signed, he was set up with the postponed blood transfusion, as the new wife slipped back into her protective garb. Later that night she unfolded her cot and moved it next to his bed; they slept in wedded bliss holding hands between the beds.

Her birthday began just past midnight 8 days after the storybook wedding. She woke to him singing “Happy Birthday” in his whispery-raspy voice, and ending in the words, “…and many more with ME!”

His optimistic song and the effort he made to sing it were her best gifts ever. Her birthday passed by at the bottom of a long list of medical priorities that day, but her thoughts kept drifting back to his gift. If she closes her eyes and allows herself, she can still hear it today.

Seven weeks later, 11 days before his birthday, the new bride became a widow. Preparing him for the next step on his journey, eyes filled with tears, she lovingly bathed and dressed his body on their own bed at home. He had been Captain of the volunteer fire department and 2 of his men helped her. Later, the new widow’s mother sat in a chair next to the bed, humming soothing words and watching her daughter frantically cover up his body as it cooled.

The pastor and his wife would be heading back across the mountains soon.

 


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1984 With a Twist; Corporations Not Government

Yes, 1984 with a twist: it is corporations, not government taking over our lives. Former Google chief, Eric Schmidt and Google Idea think tank member, Jared Cohen wrote the book on it and it comes out Tuesday. It’s no surprise to many of us that they predict a time that all of our online information will be merged into one big profile. Here’s a link to the AP story: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_TEC_GOOGLE_TECH_VISIONS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-04-21-16-22-54

As part of a writer challenge that I’m taking from Robert Lee Brewer’s site, I have spent the weekend signing on to several social media sites. http://robertleebrewer.blogspot.com/2012/04/april-platform-challenge-day-1.html

Later I went to look something up on BING, and guess what? There’s my profile picture and mini profile info from Facebook. But it came up on top, asking if I want to tag myself, to be used across the board on other media.  Sheesh, I’m in deep now!

What do you think?

Peace,

Patti


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Our Precious #5

Our Precious Number Five

February 2012/2013

We Hall kids…

We were a seven-chapter book held together by our parents, as our sturdy cover.

Michaela was our precious five of seven; a chapter in our book suddenly torn away.

That vital chapter is missing now, an empty space in the former number seven.

The book no longer makes any sense; the spine is loose, and the sturdy cover shakes, as we cling to one another.

One year later…

Michaela’s chapter slowly fills with happy pictures and loving memories, but what we still want, what we still need is for her own precious energy and life, to once again fill her chapter pages.

© Patti Hall and https://1writeplace.wordpress.com, 2013.