Busted E String

I’ve had a goal to learn how to play the guitar for a while. Last summer, I bought a guitar, a wonderful left-handed Fender model. I got some self-teaching books, but I never made it past first string. I have also felt it would be a good idea to get lessons, but it’s always a matter of schedule and expense, etc.

Since this year is still young, I figured I’d pick up the guitar again and learn it. I made music flashcards with notes and string positions, so I can arrange them any way I want: open strings, by string, sharps, flats, etc and even throw a chord or two in at a time. I came up with a way that works for me in the meantime and I was excited to try it out. Continue reading “Busted E String”

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Reading in this New Year

It’s so easy to get caught up in this idea of reading as a writer that it becomes this rule, a dogma. Some writers, like Stephen King in his famous book on writing drives home this point where it’s easy to internalize in this way. I have to admit it’s easy to feel guilty if the reading falls by the wayside for whatever reason. Continue reading “Reading in this New Year”

Facebook and Orange Haze

Over the years, I have come to have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I love the connectedness I have with the various groups of people in my life. I hate that I can spend too much time chasing updates. I like when people share funny or interesting updates. I hate that the updates have now become non-stop articles about the orange haze. No, I’m not going to name that, but I’m sure you have a good idea already. Continue reading “Facebook and Orange Haze”

Writing Tools

A long time ago, when I first read Writing Down the Bones, I soon got caught up with fountain pens. At the time, Sheaffer still made fountain pens that were still writing pens, not just calligraphy, and they were really cheap. I remember getting clear colors like red, blue, or green, and some opaque ones like in marbled green or blue. They leaked a lot, so I took the inkstains on my hands as a badge of being a writer. Continue reading “Writing Tools”

Writer’s Guides: The Artist’s Way

Once upon a time, I took an Artist’s Way workshop. This was post-MFA with me having taught for a couple of years and feeling frustrated about not really getting any writing done. Meanwhile, a friend who is a self-taught poet was inspired by Interview with a Vampire and went down the rabbit hole of vampire literature and films and movies in teaching himself how to write his own vampire novel. This same friend told me about the Artist Way Workshop that was facilitated by a friend of his. Continue reading “Writer’s Guides: The Artist’s Way”

Writer’s Guides: Writing Down the Bones

Ever since I resolved to get myself back into writing, I reached into my bookshelf for the books on writing* I’ve bought over the years. Some I have read and used and came back to over and over while there is a lot that simply became my writer’s reference section. Suddenly, they all seem very useful.

The now classic Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg is a good place to start and I have referenced this wonderful book in my entries from the past few days. Continue reading “Writer’s Guides: Writing Down the Bones”

Being Present with First Thoughts

Yesterday morning, I took a cue from Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones in the “First Thoughts” chapter and wrote in my notebook, pen and paper, in five minute bursts. I used the timer on my iPhone and I started it up two times more. I spent a total of seventeen minutes more or less, which doesn’t seem like too much time. However, five minutes or a group of five minutes is more than no writing.

Goldberg offers these guidelines for any timed writing session:

  1. Keep your hand moving.
  2. Don’t cross out.
  3. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar.
  4. Lose control.
  5. Don’t think. Don’t get logical.
  6. Go for the jugular. Continue reading “Being Present with First Thoughts”

Beginner’s Mind

In the first chapter of Writing Down the Bones, “Beginner’s Mind, Pen, and Paper,” Natalie Goldbergtells the writer who picks this book up, “In a sense, the beginner’s mind is what we must come back to every time we sit down and write.” It’s easy to think about how profound this sounds. However, its a reminder of no matter how much you’ve written or what you have achieved, it’s always a starting over when one writes. As I haven’t really written in a while, this is a good place to come back to. Continue reading “Beginner’s Mind”

250-500+ Words: A Daily Writing Goal

This new year, like other new years before, I made some resolutions. One of them was to write every day, or at least write with more frequency than I have before. I’ve taken writing classes and have even gone through an MFA creative writing program, yet the discipline to write can be elusive. This is something I want to change in this comings year. Continue reading “250-500+ Words: A Daily Writing Goal”